The Rutland Voodoos proved to be a thorn in the side of the Pen High Lakers senior basketball teams Tuesday night.
The Lakers senior girls came out on top 46-45 at home, while the boys were topped 57-55. The winning basket scored on a desperation shot with 1.6 seconds left.
Lyndzie Caron paced the Lakers attack with 13 points, while Jollee Perrier, Emma Schneider and Hanna Clarke each contributed seven points. Lakers co-coach Lesley Lacroix said Celine Francisco had a strong game as she hit a free throw that put the home team up by a point.
“She played very well and controlled the court,” said Lacroix. “She doesn’t turn the ball over.”
The Lakers had a 40-26 lead after the third quarter which they blew. Lacroix said their offence was executed poorly and they couldn’t get on a roll. It was better in the second half as they clicked and had finish. One of the things the Voodoos did well was implementing a 2-3 system with three players low near the basket. Lacroix said her players struggled with that and is something she and co-coach Dustin Hyde will have to work with them on.
Two of the things they liked from the win was great communication and key blocks.
“It’s good to win the first league game,” she said.
As for the Laker boys, a lack of finish hurt them. The Lakers led 55-53 and had a chance to put the game away with a two-on-none play but possession was lost when the ball hit Dylan Moorman’s knee on the way to the hoop and went out of play. Moments later, the Voodoos tied it. In the final minute of play, the Lakers couldn’t finish on five chances in which they battled hard to get rebounds.
“We were a little bit antsy out there,” said Laker Jake Stokker, who led in scoring with 22 points and had 10 rebounds. “I really think that we could have made some better choices for passes and better takes to the hoop. Other than that it was a good first game.”
Aside from improving their finish, Stokker said they need to slow the game down.
Lakers coach Colin Cook said his team played with heart and showed hustle in the first three quarters. After the first half, the Lakers led 34-26, then edged the Voodoos 15-14 in the third quarter before being outscored 17-8 in the final quarter.
“We are actually running a couple of different defences this year and we were pretty effective,” said Cook, who was stunned by the loss. “We are also a very young team. Mostly Grade 11s playing tonight. The immaturity showed a little bit and a lack of experience showed.”
Cook said many of his players have not experience the type of pressure they faced and it’s something that also can’t be duplicated in practice. He believes the more games they play with that type of pressure, the better his team will be.
“They just hit some tough shots as well,” he said. “That last one was a miracle shot.”
Moorman led the Lakers with 15 rebounds.