COLUMBUS — Two things were written on the board inside Lakeview’s locker room prior to Thursday’s game against Schuyler — attack the rim and force turnovers.
The Vikings excelled at both coming off the five-day moratorium period to blast the Warriors 64-18 in the opening round of the Columbus Holiday Tournament at Dowd Activity Center.
Both numbers — points scored and allowed — were season-best marks for Lakeview.
“Coming out of the break, you’re not going to shoot very well, so we wanted to get to the rim as much as we could and get some easy baskets off turnovers,” Lakeview head coach Monte Jones said. “We did that.”
It took most of the first quarter for the Vikings to get into the flow of the game, but once they did, their length and athleticism engulfed the Warriors.
“It’s really tough, especially when they get set up,” Schuyler head coach Kadeyn Johnson said of Lakeview’s 1-3-1 defense.
The Vikings made only three field goals in the first quarter, but knocked down 5 of 7 attempts from the free-throw line while taking an 11-2 lead after eight minutes of play.
Then Lakeview found a rhythm.
“Defensively, we set the tone,” Jones said. “Once we got the tempo up, we looked a lot smoother.”
Lakeview scored the first 12 points of the second quarter to take a 23-2 advantage and went into the halftime break with a 29-9 lead.
The Warriors knocked down the first shot of the second half, but the Vikings responded with 14 straight points to open up a 32-point lead.
Ali Janssen scored nine of her game-high 16 points in the third quarter to power Lakeview. Abby Kapels had five of the Vikings’ 21 points in the quarter and finished with 10 for the game, the only other player in double figures.
Getting some extended minutes in the fourth quarter, Cailin Briggs paced Lakeview offensively in the period. The senior scored six points in the final eight minutes and finished with seven for the game.
She was part of a Lakeview bench that scored 25 points, a number that thrilled Jones.
“Our bench showed no drop-off from our first five,” he said. “That was real important today to be able to sub when we don’t have our legs back yet. Our depth is starting to develop.”
The Vikings (4-3) advance to Friday’s championship game for the fifth straight year. The previous four appearances all ended in losses to Scotus Central Catholic.
Regardless of whether Lakeview sees the Shamrocks again or Twin River, Jones knows his team will have to execute to finally win the tournament.
“It will be a battle” he said. “It could be a real physical-type game. The key will be defense and who can finish big shots when they get them.”
Schuyler (0-6) continues to search for its first win of the season in Friday’s consolation game. The Warriors will play the loser of Scotus and Twin River.