The Eagles’ Lucy Lurvey attempts to dribble past the Raiders Marissa Fronk and tries to use a pick from a teammate. The Eagles took a 45-21 loss in the conference game.
The Eagles’ Lucy Lurvey attempts to dribble past the Raiders Marissa Fronk and tries to use a pick from a teammate. The Eagles took a 45-21 loss in the conference game.
The Northland Pines girls Eagles faced off against the Medford Raiders Jan. 3, losing 45-21 at the Friday night basketball game.

“We came into the Medford game knowing we were facing one of the more physical teams in the conference, and the only one who carries multiple bigs who can cause some damage inside,” said coach Josh Olivotti. “They are arguably the best rebounding team in the league and that has been a huge area of concern for us.”

Although neither team shot well from the floor according to the coach, the Eagles gave Medford too many opportunities to rebound.

“Medford made us pay on the glass and probably 70% of their scoring came off of offensive rebounding opportunities. We have a really tight game if we do not let this happen,” said Olivotti. 

It was an interesting first half that began with a slow scoring output, with the score still tied up at 2-2 five minutes in. 

“When Medford went to their 1-3-1 zone, we made a switch to more of a four corners set for a while to eat up some clock and try and pull them out of some trap action,” he said. “This worked well for a while and gave us an opportunity to go into half down seven or eight, but we gave up three straight baskets to them off of offensive rebounds to close out the half.”

Olivotti added that he was happy that the girls were comfortable with the pace in the first half and played with more calmness on offense. At the end of the half, Medford led 26-15.

“We were doing some nice things on offense to create pretty good shot opportunities, but we need to finish,” Olivotti said.

Teresa Kopanski gave the team a nice spark in the second half when she hit two three-pointers from the right wing area. One of those shots put the Eagles down by eight and forced Medford to take a timeout. 

“They were great decisions and conversions by Teresa, but we did not get much of a follow-up from those at the time we needed it,” said the coach. 

In the second half, a couple of girls sat with four fouls which hurt the Eagles. 

“We do not have the depth with scoring yet to be able to counter these situations very well, so we have to continue to focus on developing this with our kids. One indicator for us on offense is free throw attempts, and we only had five attempts Friday night. We just need to be smarter in how we assert ourselves on this side of the ball,” Olivotti said.

Overall, the girls played some pretty solid defense in this game and held the Raiders to 45 points. 

“Paige (Hickson) did a great job on their point guard, who is a great facilitator, and Lucy (Lurvey) covered their primary shooter quite well most of the night,” Olivotti said. 

“We are a physical team and make it tough on teams in many ways, but we have to commit ourselves to the rebounding aspect and have to continue to develop ways to score.”

The girls now have four practices to focus on improvements and get ready to face a very solid Lakeland team Friday, Jan. 10, at 6:15 p.m. at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua. Olivotti said that they will have to be ready for Lakeland’s pressure and know how to cover their shooters.

A conference game is scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 7:15 p.m. against Antigo at home.