CORTLAND - Poland High School's history of athletic success makes it seem like the Bulldogs would be good if the competition was a game of checkers.
Knowing that, Lakeview Bulldogs girls' basketball coach Adam Lewis called on an aggressive style of play until the final whistle in an All American Conference game here Monday. The strategy worked well as Lakeview forced 26 turnovers in a surprisingly easy 45-29 win.
It might have been the most impressive showing of the season for Lakeview (10-4). Poland was stymied throughout, turning the ball over nine times in both the second and third quarters.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Lakeview’s Marissa Naples goes up for a basket as she is surrounded by Poland’s Theodora Constantine (30), Kasie Serich (32) and Marissa Trevis (in front of Lakeview’s Rachel Calvin).
That's a recipe for disaster against Lakeview, which feeds off transition play with the ball-moving skills of guards Allie and Abby Pavlik.
"We finally put four quarters together," Lewis said. "The challenge to the girls before the game was to play hard. I didn't care what the score was. I just wanted to see 32 minutes of hard, up-and-down basketball, and that's what they gave me."
The thought of playing Poland, which is now 11-4, was enough to ignite a spark for Lakeview. Poland plays in the American Division of the AAC, which includes the larger schools in the conference.
"We haven't had much intensity throughout our games," said Allie, who scored a game-high 22 points. "Our first four games we went out hard. We may not have won them all, but we were very intense in all four. This week he (Lewis) showed us a tape of the Canfield game, and that was the game for us. We played hard.
"I think that lit a little fire in us because they're a good team. Everyone knows Poland and thinks they're good. They're a Division II team. For us to beat them is a big thing for us."
Allie, who averages 23 points a game, made three 3-point shots among her seven field goals and was 5-of-6 at the foul line. Her younger sister Abby led Lakeview in assists with seven.
"It was a team effort," Lewis said. "The Pavlik sisters played very well; they played together. I thought our posts did a very good job. (Calli) Schmitt was in a little foul trouble, but she played hard when she was in there. Marissa Naples stood out to me tonight. It was getting to the basket and finishing inside."
The teams were tied at 10 following the first quarter. Lakeview scored the first five points of the second period on a fielder by Schmitt and a 3-point shot by Allie. Rachael Robertson answered with a fielder and Kasie Serich made a 3-point shot for Poland to tie the score.
Lakeview then took the lead for good on an inside shot by Naples. Allie followed with another 3-pointer and two free throws to give Lakeview a 22-15 halftime lead.
Allie added six points in the third quarter as Lakeview stretched its lead to 35-23. By then Lakeview's pressure defense had taken control.
"We started to beat them on the halfcourt offense, so I think they thought they had to pressure us like we pressured them," Allie said. "Our defensive play was good. That's what helped us win those turnovers.
"When they pressured us the first few times we broke it like that (snapping her fingers). Our coach said, 'Don't let any team think they can press you.' We're very good at breaking the press."
Serich led Poland in scoring with 10 points.
Lakeview is at Liberty Thursday.