HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse girls basketball coach Lisa Downey admits her team’s offense struggles at times for various reasons.
“We’ve had players who have missed time over the course of the season for injuries or the flu, so we’re still trying to get our offense in sync,” Downey said.
The Lancers have been able to ride their defense to an 8-5 mark, which includes a 5-2 record in the Macomb Area Conference White Division. At press time L’Anse Creuse sat two games out of first — behind 7-0 Warren Cousino, the defending MAC White champs.
The Lancers are holding opponents to 38.3 points per game, putting L’Anse Creuse in the top 25 percent of teams in the 36-squad MAC.
“Our defense has been outstanding,” Downey said. “So much of our emphasis is on defense because it’s a work ethic and a pride thing. You might be struggling on offense, but you’re still going to work hard on defense, make it tough for opponents to score and close it down.”
L’Anse Creuse is also a solid defensive rebounding team, making it a point to limit the opposition to one shot, according to Downey.
The Lancers run primarily zone defensive sets — but with some man-to-man principles, according to Downey. L’Anse Creuse also presses and traps in spurts, with a goal of limiting opponents to less-than-ideal looks at the basket.
“We’ve stayed in games against better teams on the strength of our defense,” Downey said.
Downey added that seniors Carly D’Almeida, a power forward in her fourth season on varsity, and Leeza Donald (point guard) have done a good job of leading the team offensively.
Senior forwards Courtney Powerski and Danielle Campbell — both three-year varsity players — complete a strong core. Three juniors with multiple years of varsity playing experience — Jaevyn Wortham, Michaela Jones and Emily Hranchook — add to the level of experience Downey said has led to her team’s success.
“The experience of our team has definitely helped us,” Downey said.
Downey added she’s hopeful that the offense will round into form before the end of the regular season. The Lancers at press time scored just 41.8 points per game, putting the L’Anse Creuse offense at 16th in the MAC.
Downey said various injuries and illness have led to the Lancers’ not clicking on offense. She said her team was just starting to get to full strength, prior to a 38-25 win over Utica High Jan. 29.
“I feel our offense has a chance to improve, and that’ll make us a more dangerous team, come the playoffs,” Downey said. “Our goal is to get better every day, and if we get healthy, we can do that.”
L’Anse Creuse next hits the court for a tip against Port Huron High, slated for 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at Port Huron.