New year, a fresh start for Eagles
Lanesville went to Elizabeth Friday night with the mindset of making the turn for the second half of the season. That front nine was full of tough playing conditions, tough putts that weren’t made and not the best overall score. But heading for the back nine and 2008, the Eagles are looking to make a strong turn to run themselves to under par.
Fortunately for the Eagles, there are two halves to a season, and they put in their best effort of the season against rival South Central, taking it to the Rebels 75-62.
Over the break, Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said the team went through an evaluation process to improve on the young season.
‘We just sat down and took a look at what we felt were our deficiencies and analyzed those and broke them down in practices,’ the eighth-year coach said. ‘Low and behold, I think it paid off for us. We played much better, I felt like, as a team.’
The 75 points was the second highest output of the season behind the 92 put up against Cannelton. Balance and teamwork were the keys against South Central, along with making plenty of shots.
A huge chunk of the scoring came from the hot hand of sophomore Bryant Conder. Scorching the nets for 28 points, Conder came off the bench nailing treys in the first half. At one point, Conder scored 11 straight Lanesville points.
The game was tight through much of the first half, until Lanesville closed the session on a 9-2 run. A Jarrett Beach trey and a Kenton Acton put-back capped the charge. Lanesville’s patience on the offensive end, along with shooting open shots with confidence were key against the Rebels.
‘We tried to run a different offense the first four or five games, but we’ve gotten out of that,’ Miller said. ‘We went to more of a motion offense now. We did pretty well tonight finding our shots. We were aggressive on offense. We were doing a lot of passing but taking good shots.’
Conder returned with the hot hand midway through the third quarter to put the Rebels away. Up 49-36, the sophomore buried consecutive treys, pushing the lead to nearly 20.
‘He did a great job for us,’ Miller said of Conder. ‘He was relaxed. He is really coming along. The thing with him we talk about is consistency. He had another game where he scored a lot of points, then the next game wasn’t the same. I am anxious to see how he follows this game with the next one.’
South Central cut the lead to 12 with three minutes to play, but never got any closer.
‘They shot the ball extremely well, the best they’ve done all year,’ South Central coach Rob Murawski said. ‘That second quarter killed us.’
The Rebels saw positive contributions from Randall Hertle and Chip Hockenbury on the offensive end. Hertle was tough on the glass and smooth in transition, leading to a team-best 20 points. Hockenbury added 16 points.
‘We’ve got to team up and get after it,’ Murawski said. ‘We see it at times. Our defense was good, we were running at them, but they were hitting a lot of tough shots.’
The Eagles enjoyed the success of taking down their rivals shooting an outstanding 55 percent from the field and 68 percent from beyond the arc. As a team, they finished with 16 assists, forced 16 turnovers and limited themselves to just 12 miscues.
Lanesville had offensive contributions from more than just Conder. Three other Eagles reached double figures: Tom Walter with 13, Acton with 11 and Beach with 10. Cody Hussung added nine to the total.
‘We approached it as if 2007 is over and behind us and 2008 is a new year,’ Miller said. ‘It’s the first game of the new year, it’s on the road and it’s another conference game. We lost one conference game and didn’t want to go down another because everyone is looking up to Borden. So we wanted to position ourselves to finish in the upper echelon of the league.’
The 2-6 start to the season came after winning back-to-back sectional titles, both the first in school history in boys’ basketball. With the sharp performance against South Central, Lanesville could make a serious push up the leader-board the second half of the season. The win pushed Lanesville to 3-6 and 1-1 in the Southern Athletic Conference. South Central dropped to 4-7 and 0-2 in conference play.
The Rebels bounced back the following night to defeat Rock Creek Christian 78-69. They will host Trinity Lutheran (6-4) Saturday night.
Lanesville hosts a tough match-up against Class A No. 1 Orleans (10-0) Saturday at 7:30 p.m.