Rustlers Add Two More to the Win Column
The Lakeland Rustlers women's basketball team knows where they're going to finish and they know who they're going to play in the first round of the playoffs, but that isn't going to change their approach. The Rustlers won both games last weekend 65-60 over Medicine Hat and 59-36 over Briercrest to ensure they finish second in the north and play the SAIT Trojans in the playoffs.
Now it's about continuing to build and peaking at the right time. Rustlers head coach Chris King said despite by winning by just five Friday, his team was in charge of that game.
“I thought Friday we were in control of the game. We were up six, eight, 10 and pushed it to 12 in the fourth, but they did a great job cutting it back to about four or five, but we controlled the pace. We rebounded the ball fairly well and played pretty good defence that's how we stayed up on Med Hat,” King said. “Saturday in Briercrest we played a little sloppy offensively, our defence was really great, we did what we wanted to on the defensive side and executed our game plan. I was pleased with our defensive effort.”
King said his team's offence wasn't clicking like they're capable and like he wants to see, but the Rustlers once again proved they can make necessary adjustments throughout a game to still come out on top, even if one aspect of their game isn't working smoothly.
“It's a huge thing for us, especially going into playoffs,” King said of his team adapting and strong defensive play. “For us to be good in playoffs we have to play defence and rebound the ball, especially on the defensive side of things. We've been focussing on that the past two weekends and the girls did a good job of that last weekend. I would like to see that same focus this weekend against Keyano. Hopefully we can carry it over and hopefully the girls understand that's what we need to do to be a strong team.”
Rustlers guard Amy Warbrick has been a big reason for the Rustlers stellar season and she said this weekend, even though her team can't move up or down in the standings, is about pride and sending a message.
“I think it's going to take a lot of heart on our side, just coming ready to play,” she said.
Warbrick continued to say that the Rustlers have to deal with Keyano first, then focus on playoffs and not look past the Huskies who are at the bottom of the North Division.
“I think we need to take each game at a time. We need to focus on Keyano and then focus on playoffs after that,” she said.
The Rustlers currently sit with a 12-6 record, which is the best in the program's history and have a chance to pick up two more wins this weekend. King said his team is focussed, but the Huskies do have some weapons to watch out for.
“They have three guards who are very good, they shoot the ball well from the outside and they have one post player that's leading the league in scoring. We'll have to shut down their post player and make sure they don't get open looks from the outside,” King explained. “A big thing for us is transition and pressuring them up and down the floor.”
King said two more wins would be nice to push the team's record to 14-6, but he said that's not the main focus of his team. They want to improve all aspects so they're at the top of their game when the playoffs start. Wins would just be icing on the cake.
“This will show a lot about our character this weekend. We owe Keyano one from last year, we dropped the last two games of the year to them, so I'm hoping our girls are motivated. But more so, we have to be focussed on improving for playoffs,” King explained. “There's certain things we need to fix and I'm hoping these girls will look at it as a challenge to come out and play our best basketball going into playoffs.”
Game time is set for Friday at 6 p.m. And 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Lakeland College.
Courtesy: Robb Fenton