Peninsula (4-11 overall, 1-4 SPSL 3A) won the first half, but the visiting Lakes Lancers (3-10 overall, 2-2 SPSL 3A) dominated the second on their way to a 55-38 win on Tuesday night. After leading by three at the break, Lakes' junior sensation Olivia Crawford and freshman guard Mallory LaPoole found their groove, combining for 38 of Lakes' 55 total points. Crawford finished with 22 and LaPoole chipped in 16 in the win.
“Crawford started hitting her runners,” said Peninsula head coach Steve Jacobson. “She's one of the top players in our league, when she starts hitting those, they're tough to defend. We gotta help, and you just hope she misses and we get the board, but in the second half she started making them.”
While Peninsula's press cause Lakes problems in the first half, the Lancers attacked the press more effectively in the second half, taking advantage of Peninsula's aggressive trapping. The Lancers outscored the Seahawks 38 to 18 in the second half.
“Typically, we do a really good job of playing some dummy defense underneath the basket, all the way back which usually forces teams to take shots that they're not comfortable with or they're taking shots out of transition on the run and they weren't hitting them,” Jacobson said. “In the second half, they started hitting them and we had to get out of that.”
Peninsula senior guard Toni Helwig said the success of the press in the first half didn't translate well to the second half.
“I think we got a little overzealous on our pressing, so they started making points that we thought we had the press down, but we didn't,” Helwig said. “Because of the first half and how well we did on the press, we didn't keep the intensity up in the second half while we were pressing, so that's why we had to stop pressing.”
Helwig was one of the bright spots for the Seahawks in the loss, as she finished with a team-leading 15 points and two 3-pointers.
“There was a lot of ball movement, which left open holes, where I looked into and was ready to shoot and score,” Helwig said.
Jacobson said Helwig has been hot in practice lately, and the team has emphasized making her the focal point of the offense.
“Toni is our best shooter,” Jacobson said. “Some nights she's looking to shoot a little more than other nights. Sometimes we just have to tell her to take a few of those shots. They might be more contested but we're just trying to get her in a rhythm. The team is really trying to get her the ball.”
Helwig said the team should have done a better job of getting back on defense when the press failed, instead of overcommitting.
“If you don't have the jump ball or the trap right away, we have to go get back right away,” Helwig said.
Jacobson said he knew Lakes' team athleticism might be an issue for Peninsula. It caught up with them in the second half.
“We felt like this was going to be a challenge for us, as far as athleticism versus us being in the right places at the right time,” Jacobson said. “First half, we were in the right place more at the right time and got some easy looks offensively, played some pretty good D, and then in the second half their athleticism won out. We didn't execute as well.”
Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.