Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake girls race through start of NEA play

 

December 20, 2018

The Medical Lake girls basketball team got off to a solid start in defense of its two previous Northeast A League regular season championships, earning a series of one-sided victories last week.

Medical Lake raced past one of its chief challengers in the past, Lakeside, on Dec. 11 by a 65-22 count launching a 3-0 week on the road. They finished with wins over Colville 53-31 on Dec. 14 and Riverside, 58-22, on Dec. 15, both at home.

Defense was the word of the week for the Cardinals who have until Dec. 28 off when they play in the Eagle Classic at West Valley High School in Spokane Valley.

“Yeah we have been playing much better team defense,” head coach Kyle Lundberg wrote in an email. “We have been really working hard on communicating on defense and getting our girls to talk.” Channeling former NBA player Doc Rivers, “If you’re not talking, you’re not playing defense,” Lundberg said was the message.

It seemed to get through at Lakeside (1-1 NEA, 1-6 overall), a team hit heavy by graduation and the loss of star Sienna Swannack, as the Cardinals shut out the Eagles 21-0 in the first quarter and then limited them to single digits in both the third and fourth quarter.

Lexi Redell led her team with a game-high 23 points with Jess Lohman adding 16.

Medical Lake did another defensive number on Colville (1-1, 3-3) Friday as the Indians scored just five first quarter points. The Cardinals, however, had only three themselves after the opening eight minutes before exploding for a 24-6 edge in the second quarter to lead 27-11 at halftime.

Jaycee Oliver’s 14 points led a trio of Cardinals in double figures that included Emma Maxwell (12) and Lohman (11).

The balance on offense with a new leader practically every night has been, and will be, a weapon for Medical Lake, Lundberg said.

“That is one of our strengths of this team, we have several different girls that can score,” Lundberg explained. “Several teams we play have maybe one or two girls who are their main scorers, which allows us to focus on their scorers on the defensive side,” he said, adding, “For us, we have six to seven girls.”

Medical Lake (3-0, 6-1) concluded the week with the easy victory over Riverside (0-2, 2-5) as Maxwell (21), Lohman (12) and Redell (11) pumped in the points. The Cardinals did a defensive number on the Rams, playing four quarters of allowing only single-digit numbers.

With the solid start behind them, Medical Lake will face decidedly different opponents in the days following Christmas.

“Our next four games are going to be tough, East Valley (7-1), Timberlake (8-1), Deer Park (5-2) and Cashmere (6-0),” Lundberg said.  “Our hope is that this tough schedule will bring the best out of our team and really make us better in the latter part of the season.”

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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