Nowak hopes younger Flyers learn from Titans’ play

J. Patrick Eaken

In the early seconds of its’ 69-30 Division III regional semifinal tournament loss to Ottawa-Glandorf, Lake was actually up 4-0 in the opening minutes.
The Flyers still trailed by just 12-10 midway through the first quarter before the roof fell in.
“The biggest thing is, in my opinion, if you look at that program that they’ve got at Ottawa-Glandorf, they are here consistently,” Lake coach Joe Nowak said. “They have players who are just two year removed from a state final four, whereas this is our first regional appearance in nine years and only the third in school history.
“I think it’s sort of the same thing in our district semifinal win against Otsego — they had eight seniors and that leadership and experience really shows. I think early on we were able to compete with them (O-G) and then after a while their experience and their discipline really took over and it’s kind of tough to recover from after that point.”
O-G forced 23 Lake turnovers, resulting in 24 O-G points compared to two Lake points off turnovers. O-G also outscored Lake 48-18 in the paint, 10-4 on second chance points and 18-2 on the fast break. In addition, Lake 6-0 senior forward Karly Bekier had to leave the game because of a wrist injury, leaving the Flyers down one starter and making the pressure even tougher to deal with.
“That’s something we talked about after the first quarter was where the turning point was in the first half — it was when we started turning the ball over,” Nowak said. “I think they really started to get after us even more than what they were.
“We threw the ball away and then they were going (fast break), and that kind of definitely changes the pace of the game and also the tone of the game a little bit. It changes some of the things that we were looking at trying to do and makes us a little bit more hesitant. I think that was definitely one of their strengths tonight. Again, we take it and we’ll try to learn from it and use it.”
Collette Askins, a 5-10 forward who led the team in steals, assists and blocked shots, plus scored 4.1 points per game, and Bekier, who averaged 7.8 points, will be Lake’s biggest losses to graduation.
Other seniors who contributed include 5-3 guard Kaitlyn Scott, 5-6 guard Natalie Bomyea and 5-8 forward Karissa McCloskey.
The team will return 5-11 junior forward Hayley St. John, 5-8 sophomore guard Delani Robinson, 5-9 junior guard Ava Ayers (8.8 pts.) and 5-11 sophomore forward Brigid Enright (3.4 pts.). St. John was the only Lake player to reach double figures, scoring 10 points and getting the Flyers’ only two steals of the game.
Also returning are 5-8 freshman guard Jessie Materni, 5-5 sophomore guard Kelsie Gladieux, 6-1 freshman forward Ella Vorst, 5-7 sophomore forward Abbie Rymers, 5-2 freshman guard Elise Staczek and 5-6 sophomore guard Jade Rose.
Nowak is hoping that his underclassmen will learn from experiencing O-G’s pressure.
“You can see it on film, you can show clips and everything like that, but, once you really get out there I think it takes a whole different tone,” Nowak said. “I think, really throughout the course of the game, for that team to have pressure for a full game, I think it really wears on teams.
“It’s something you can’t emulate in practices. It’s something that we talked about, trying to do as a team as well, to really get up into them (the offense) and make things difficult, and I think it’s good for our young kids to see a program that is like that — to see really see what it takes and what results can follow from that.
“In a game, going against that when you haven’t really seen anything like that, very often at all during the season, I think it can really jump on you and take its toll. But in the end, it will be good for our returning players to kind of grow from that.”


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