Lakota savors second chances in victory over Gibsonburg

PEMBERVILLE – The postseason often is called the second season.

A chance to right some wrongs from the regular season.

A chance to rebound from some of the rough patches of the season.

A chance to start fresh.

The difference is a team doesn’t get a second, third or fourth try to make good on misses.

Unless that team is Lakota.

The Raiders used 24 offensive rebounds to help beat Gibsonburg in a 43-35 victory in the Division III sectional semifinal at Eastwood High School.

“The rebounding battle this year, we’ve maybe won once, twice, not a whole lot,” Lakota coach Mike Miller said. “We’ve really focused on rebounding the last couple weeks in practice. We’ll run two and three different rebounding drills just because that was our focus. We needed to get better there.”

Practice has made perfect. Three Lakota players nearly outrebounded the Golden Bears (9-14) as Morgan Gangwer (10), Katie Park (9) and Morgan Mowry (8) combined for 27 rebounds on their own compared to Gibsonburg’s 30.

“We didn’t box out very well tonight and that hurt too,” Gibsonburg coach John Ernsthausen said. “We’re not very big but they try. That’s where it was tonight too: they beat us on the boards.”

The other big factor was the way Lakota came out of the gate. Less than three minutes into the game, the Raiders (4-18) had taken a 7-2 lead thanks to buckets from Rachel Feick and Mowry sandwiched around a Stephanie Miller 3-pointer.

The problem for Gibsonburg was it was the only points it would score in the quarter, as Lakota took a 10-2 lead into the break.

“Our biggest downfall this year has been our shooting percentage and we came out and hit some very nice shots early on and gave us confidence,” Miller said. “I know these guys can shoot better than what they’ve shown for the year. It’s the kind of start we needed to get their confidence going.”

The Golden Bears could only chip two off the margin by halftime, 23-17, as the Golden Bears struggled against Lakota’s zone defense.

“We came out a little flat in the first quarter and they knocked down some shots,” Ernsthausen said. “They did a nice job in their zone. We just didn’t knock shots down, enough shots down I should say. We had our opportunities.”

Miller said the zone was effective at times.

“Most of the time [it was effective],” Miller said. “We got a little bit tired at times and missed some rotations but for the most part, they really did a good job. I think we held them to two points in the first quarter. That’s when it was working and we got tired in the second. We got a little careless at times with ball and they got some easy baskets but when they were going against our set halfcourt defense, we really worked well together.”

Gibsonburg got it 23-22 early in the third on a basket by Amanda Shammo, who scored 11 on the night. But a 7-point run combined with a five-minute Golden Bears scoreless draught put Lakota in charge for good.

“That’s where our point guard, Stephanie Miller, took control and settled them down. We ran off seven points in a row to quash their momentum and give us our confidence back,” coach Miller said. “She had some really nice passes in that stretch and ran the offense great when we needed it.”

Miller had 10 points but more importantly, had eight steals. Gangwer led the attack with 11 points to complete her double-double.

Marisa Alvarado led all scorers with 14 points for the Golden Bears.

Lakota moves on to face No. 1 seeded Woodmore on Saturday back at Eastwood High School at 6:15 p.m.