Lakeland cruises to victory in non-conference finale
Athletics - posted on 1/12/2009
SHEBOYGAN - Following a lackadaisical home win last Friday against Silver Lake, the theme all weekend for the Lakeland men's basketball team was intensity.
"Even though we won against Silver Lake, we didn't come out with that energy we needed," freshman point guard Josh Regal said. "We talked all weekend about coming out with intensity and maximum effort, and just playing hard."
The product of all the talk, a 76-56 non-conference victory over Northland Baptist on Monday night at Moose & Dona Woltzen Gymnasium, was seen as a smashing success by Lakeland players and coaches heading into the meat of the Northern Athletics Conference schedule.
"That was exactly what the doctor ordered," Lakeland head coach Aaron Aanonsen said. "That was 10 guys playing with enthusiasm and passion. It was great to see, especially after our performance against Silver Lake and a couple of games before that."
The Muskies (8-4, 2-2 NAC) dominated in the lane, outscoring the Pioneers 46-16 in the paint and posting a commanding 18-0 advantage in second-chance points. Lakeland also out-rebounded Northland Baptist 42-25.
"Our guys in the post worked hard and did a great job of sealing their man, and we used our dribble-attack to put those guys in position to score," said Regal, who collected 20 points, five rebounds and three steals on the night.
Lakeland put the game out of reach early in the second half. After taking a 12-point lead into the locker room, the Muskies opened the second half with a 6-0 spurt to take a 45-27 lead with 17:07 to play.
Freshman forward Jake Schwarz posted 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Muskies. Aanonsen praised the Sheboygan native for his work on the other end of the floor.
"Jake really defended better tonight, which is something we talked to him a lot about in practice," Aanonsen said. "He did a great job containing Ben Summers, Northland Baptist's best player."
Summers shot just 3-for-11 and finished with seven points.
Junior forward Anthony Cobb (Milwaukee) was also a contributor for the Muskies, shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the field to finish with 10 points.
Lakeland turned 19 Pioneer turnovers into 21 points, and Northland Baptist (8-6) shot just 37.3 percent from the field.
Ten players played at least 10 minutes for Lakeland, which will return to NAC action for the remainder of the season. Aanonsen said those minutes will keep his players fresh for the more familiar foes in league play.
"Heading into the bulk of our conference schedule, our cornerstone has to be on the defensive end, which has been lacking at times," Aanonsen said. "Offensively, we need to take care of the ball and do what we do well."
The Muskies play their third contest of a four-game home stand this Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Marian.
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