Charlie Lavan understands the advantages of eventually developing a bench as his Lake-Lehman girls basketball team continues its climb.
“We’re trying to get some depth,” Lavan said of the Lady Knights, who, for now, are relying almost exclusively on an all-underclassman starting unit to make the move into contender status. “We’re working on that.
“Developing a sixth or seventh would mean a lot to us, but the kids play with energy.”
The energy of the starting five, which frequently remains intact for all 32 minutes, was on display again Jan. 25 when Lake-Lehman regained the girls Black and Blue Rivalry Trophy with a 46-25 Wyoming Valley Conference crossover romp over visiting Dallas.
“We’re getting contributions from all five kids,” Lavan said. “All five – defensively and offensively – pitch in for us.
“It’s a good group to coach.”
Lake-Lehman has managed to combine the durability necessary to play without substitutions with the defensive discipline needed to avoid foul trouble.
“We’ve got to be very careful with how we play defense,” Lavan said. “We don’t reach. We work very hard on that.”
In the rivalry game against Dallas, which had a better record when the night started, the Lady Knights held the Lady Mountaineers scoreless in the first quarter on the way to a 23-5 halftime lead.
The game was the fifth in a stretch of six straight where the team went without any scoring production from the bench.
Junior center Madison Borum scored 19 to lead the win.
Savannah Purdy, a junior shooting guard who has been coming on strong lately and joins Borum in averaging more than 12 points per game, added 15.
Corinna Scoblick and Sarah Salus, who also average more than eight points per game, handled the other scoring. Scoblick is a junior point guard and Salus is a sophomore who plays on the wing.
Jodie Salansky, a junior forward, is the newcomer to this year’s starting lineup.
“Lately, we’ve just been very disciplined with our fouls, keeping our feet moving and our hands straight out,” Savannah Purdy said. “We play aggressive, but not too aggressive that we’ll get ourselves in trouble.
“We’re just disciplining ourselves a lot.”
The results have been impressive.
Even after a loss to Hazleton Area Monday, Lake-Lehman was at 10-6 overall and in fourth place in the 10-way race for eight spots in the District 2 Class 4A tournament. The Lady Knights are 9-2 in the WVC, tied for the third-best record out of 18 teams in a conference, which uses inter-divisional play, but also tied for third in the loaded Division 2.
Lake-Lehman, which trails Nanticoke and Holy Redeemer, was tied with Wyoming Area in the standings going into Thursday night.
The Lady Knights, who will have another year together as a lineup, are up from winning six WVC games and seven games overall in the 2016-17 season.
“We’re right where we want to be and right where I thought we could be at this time,” Lavan said last week of a season that includes wins over the top four teams in WVC Division 1 – Crestwood, Hazleton Area (in a tournament game), Dallas and Pittston Area. “We’ve had some bumpy games, but hopefully they’re eliminated now.
“We’re playing with a lot more confidence.”