The Pen High Lakers field lacrosse team is growing in many ways.
Hosting the Thompson-Okanagan Selects on Jan. 15 at the Adidas SportsPlex, the Lakers learned they are capable of clawing their way back into games, earning an 18-18 tie.
They dug themselves into a deep hole as they trailed the Selects, which feature players from Kamloops, Vernon, Salmon Arm, Kelowna and Penticton (Freddy Harbinson and Brendan Craig), 13-5 at the half.
“I think they were overwhelmed or didn’t believe that they could compete with them. It took them at least the first half to wake up and realize that they could play with them,” said Lakers coach Tony Ramsay. “I wasn’t happy with the way they played D in the first little bit. We called a time out, told them to tighten things up. Especially in the sports complex, where things happen so fast, you don’t have as big field as a regular field, it’s important to not give the offence the room to manoeuvre. I was happy with how they pulled together.”
Kale Lawrence led the Lakers offence with five goals and an assist. Also scoring for the Lakers were Beau Chetner with four goals, one assist, Nash Moog three goals and one each by Ben Olson, Keegan Allen, Jacob Stewart, Karl Drouin, Connor Ramage and Rhys MacDonald. Jayden Carey had a strong second half performance in goal. The Lakers received strong defensive play by Cairo Rogers, Dez Hazel, Cole Hennig, Colin Duffield, Matt Carson, Jackson Jamieson, Ethan Konno, Spencer Watkinson and Logan Cote.
Harbinson and Craig, who play for the Lakers, suited up for the Selects as they travel with the team to San Francisco to play in a tournament this weekend.
Ramsay saw the comeback as a sign of growth for the team. The players develop the belief they can get it done, he said.
Olsen said the game was played at a high pace and with plenty of emotion. He enjoyed it and said they have more success by working together. They have become closer. Ramage said their confidence was boosted from earning the tie.
“If we all play at our full potential, we can go farther in the game. Possibly win gold at provincials,” said Ramage.
Ramage has seen the players become more committed to each other. They are also more engaged from their work in practice. Ramage has benefitted from Ramsay’s coaching as they complete various drills and he has a different view of the game. Ramsay is also tough on the players when needed.
“I think it’s for our best when he is tough on us. It shows that he’s serious about what we’re doing,” said Ramage. “It kind of makes us get our act together.”
During practice sessions at the Adidas SportsPlex, Ramsay has been pushing fundamentals. Being a goaltender during his playing days, Ramsay understands the key that strong defence plays.
“If the guys are playing in front of you, then it doesn’t fall completely on the goaltenders shoulders to win a game,” said Ramsay. “Strong defences, that’s what wins championships right? There is not a lot of glory in playing defence right.”
The Lakers plan to set up additional exhibition games prior to provincials which are the end of February in New Westminster.