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November 28, 2012

LCN girls basketball prepares for competition in the MAC Blue

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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LCN girls basketball prepares for competition in the MAC Blue
L’Anse Creuse senior Destiny Rasche controls the ball for L’Anse Creuse North during a scrimmage against Birmingham Seaholm. After winning a Macomb Area Conference Gold Division title last season, the Crusaders have been moved to the MAC Blue.

Girls basketball is just a couple of weeks old, and L’Anse Creuse North coach Bob Johnston is hoping this season goes as well as the last one.

LCN is scheduled to open its season at 7 p.m.  Nov. 28 on the road against Riverview Gabriel Richard.

Last season, LCN captured league and district championships. According to Johnston, the program had not accomplished both of those feats in the same season since the mid-1980s.

In so doing, the Crusaders may have raised the bar for the program, which is just the way Johnston likes it.

“The girls last year set a really high standard, and these girls are going to have to step up,” he said. “I would like to think we have a new standard, but the only thing that’s going to determine that is how hard they’re going to play and how well we play for the rest of this year.”

Although LCN did graduate five players, the cupboard is not exactly bare. Along with fellow seniors Kaylee McPharlin, Courtney Warren, Morgan Tomich and Destiny Rasche, the Crusaders will also take to the floor with four-year starter Marisa Oleksiak and Keearra Brown, who are co-captains and returning starters.

Johnston will be relying upon the leadership of his seniors.

“It’ll be their responsibility to carry forward the things that the players did from last year’s team,” he said. “They know that, they expect that and they’re willing to do that. That’s probably more important than anything. I think they have the mental capability to do that, and we’re pretty decent physically, so we’ll see. Only time’s going to tell.”

Although the turnover LCN experienced will change the look of the team, Johnston is hoping it doesn’t change the production. Having players with athletic ability can help see to that, and fortunately for Johnston, that appears to be one of the primary strengths of his team.

“We’ll be athletic at every position,” he said. “They’re going to have to rebound well as a team. Last year, we relied on one girl (Jazmine Brown) to get an awful lot of rebounds. This year, we’re going to have to rely on everybody.”

LCN has moved from the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division to the Blue, and while Johnston isn’t completely sure what awaits the Crusaders when they get there, he does understand that it will present new challenges.

“When you win, you get to move up in the MAC, and I guess that’s a good thing,” he said. “That just means we’ve been winning, and we’ve had a little success. Exactly what the Blue has, I’m not really sure. We know there are some great coaches and some really nice programs (in) the Blue, so we’re really going to have to play at a high level in order to compete.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.