Lakeside returns just one starter from last season but the Dragons have shown they have what it takes to compete in the Chagrin Valley Conference Lake Division.
“Heading into the season, we are somewhat inexperienced with having only one starter from the 20-21 season returning and the other four only getting into half the varsity games last season as they split their time between varsity and JV,” said fourth-year Lakeside coach Nicole Grimmett. “We have gotten in a few scrimmages now and I see them stepping up into the level of play expected. We know we can compete in the conference.”
Lakeside finished 5-14 overall and 4-4 in league play last winter.
This year, the Dragons have an inside-out attack and a defense that could help dictate the tempo of each game.
“Offensively, our team can be a threat from the perimeter as well as in the paint,” Grimmett said. “We plan to share the ball on offense and create open looks in all positions. Defensively, we have a lot of options to go to and hope to keep our opponents off guard and control the pace of the game.”
Remaining healthy will be paramount to Lakeside’s success this season as the Dragons are not deep.
“Our biggest challenge will be staying healthy both physically and mentally,” Grimmett said. “These players have been through a lot in the past two years and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help them succeed on and off the court while having a fun experience throughout the season. We have already dealt with some injuries and with only eight players on the varsity roster, we are focused on making sure the players are taking care of their bodies, heating before practice, stretching well, ice baths, and fueling their bodies correctly. The winter season is a long one and it takes a toll on these athletes.”
Lakeside will lean on senior guard Adrianna Campbell-Hull to lead the team on and off the court.
The team’s lone returning starter, Campbell-Hull averaged 8.5 points, six rebounds, and two steals per game last season on the way to earning first-team All-CVC honors.
“She has stepped into a leadership role on and off the court,” Grimmett said. “Offensively, Adrianna is a threat from anywhere on the floor. She reads and reacts to the defense creating open looks for her teammates and herself. She has also upped her skills on the defensive (end) since last season. She always gives 100-percent and plays with tremendous heart and effort.”
Seniors Emma Noce, Jeanelle Bryan, and DeAundra Severino, and junior Tamore Hoskins round out the projected starting lineup.
Noce, Bryan, and Hoskins are guards while Severino is a forward.
“Emma adds a crucial piece to our offense this season and will force teams to defend the perimeter,” Grimmett said. “Jeanelle is a player who can fill whatever role needed. She is very versatile offensively and can defend the other team’s best offensive players. We are going to count on her in many ways this season. DeAundra will play a key role in our offense as well with her skilled post play and rebounding. DeAundra takes a lot of pride in her play and that has pushed her to learn and grow on both offense and defense. She is always looking to improve in some way. Tamore will be key to our success this season. On the defensive side, she anticipates well and gets into the correct position, and can guard her player in a one-on-one situation. She can also run point for us on offense and has been focusing on improving her shot.”
Grimmett also expects junior Liyo Baker and sophomores Mckenzie Johnson and Lanie Torrence to contribute this winter.
“Liyo brings the excitement and energy to the team on game days. Liyo will get a lot of experience this season and we can’t wait to see how much improvement is made. Even with the few scrimmages we have had there has been tremendous growth and we believe Liyo will be a key contributor to our success this season,” Grimmett said. “Mckenzie has worked extremely hard the past two years in the offseason to get to this point. She’s improved in all areas of her game. We hope to get her as much experience as we can at the varsity level this season. We can always count on Lanie to make the hustle plays. She gets out there and runs the floor, dives for loose balls, and crashes the boards.”
The Dragons hope that by the end of the season they’ll have positioned themselves to compete for the CVC Lake Division title and win all their games against other Ashtabula County schools.
To do that, they’ll have to come together as a team while gaining experience under fire.
“One of our biggest keys to success this season will be being able to control the pace of play,” Grimmett said. “Defensively, we need to apply constant pressure and force turnovers that will allow us to capitalize on scoring in transition.”