LAKEWOOD — Lakewood’s girls basketball teams looks and has to operate a lot differently this season.
The Tigers have been going through life after the Emsbo twins. Camilla and Kira — 6-foot-5 forwards who are now playing for Yale and Princeton — helped Lakewood to 86 victories and three Class 5A Jeffco League titles over their four-year run with the Tigers.
“They (5A Jeffco teams) don’t care about our graduation,” Lakewood coach Chris Poisson said about the new-look Tigers. “There are teams who haven’t beaten us in six or more years. They don’t care who is on the court for us. We have to be mentally ready for that.”
Lakewood looked ready Thursday night in a home game against Fairview. The Tigers shot well from long range making a dozen 3-pointers in a 60-43 victory. Eight of the 3-pointers came in the opening half. The junior guard tandem of Nadia Trevizo-Medina (13 points) and Aaliyah Sabala (12 points) buried three 3-pointers each by halftime.
The 5-foot-5 guards don’t have the luxury of having the Emsbo twins getting most of the attention defensively anymore. However, the Tigers’ shooters adjusted well against the Knights (3-8 record).
“It’s about quick release now,” Trevizo-Medina said of having more 3-pointers challenged. “I was also used to just kicking it in down low. Now I’ve got to go inside and make moves inside.”
Senior Maddy Hubych showed off some nifty moves on her way to a game-high 18 points for the Tigers (3-9). Hubych dominated the second half scoring 13 points after halftime.
“She (Hubych) is working so hard. The improvement she has made since December is leaps and bounds,” Poisson said. “Obviously, that’s going to help with Aalyah and Nadia getting shots. She is so strong and we need her to be that.”
Freshman Juliette Fillion helped Lakewood build its lead to 20-plus points in the third quarter with a pair of 3-pointer herself. The Tigers led by as much a 25 points early in the fourth quarter.
“Once we getting hitting those (3-pointers) is raises the energy and gets everyone up,” Hubych said. “It’s really beneficial to hit those 3-pointers.”
It was the first victory since the end of the winter break for Lakewood. However, Poisson liked the way his team played in a loss to Vista PEAK Prep on Tuesday.
“We are playing the best we’ve played all year heading into a tough stretch,” Poisson said.
Lakewood hits the road to face 5A Jeffco rival Ralston Valley next week on Tuesday, Jan. 15. It will won’t be a conference game — that comes later Feb. 6 at Lakewood — but it should be a good test to see where the Tigers stand against No. 10 ranked Mustangs.
The Tigers begin their 8-game conference schedule at Dakota Ridge on Jan. 19.
“There are a lot of outside opinions about how were are going to do this year,” Hubych said. “I think we just have to keep playing like we are now. Play our game.”
Fairview opens up its 5A Front Range play tomorrow (Friday) at Mountain Range. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff.