SARNIA, Ontario — One can’t dwell on the past, as the past cannot be changed.
For the Lambton College Lions, the past didn’t yield many wins for the women’s basketball team during the 2017-18 season. In fact, the Lions picked up just two wins over the course of the season, both of which came against the Sault College Cougars on the same weekend in February.
The Lions finished the 2017-18 season with a 2-18 record against OCAA opponents, finishing in 10th place in the OCAA West Division when all was said and done. The lone team that they finished ahead of in the regular season standings was Sault College, who finished the season without a league victory.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, the roster for the Lions will have a similar look to the roster from a season ago. Gone are two of the team’s top three scorers, but the Lions will have several younger players who will have another year of experience under their belts. Lambton College will also welcome back a former double-digit scorer after sitting out last season.
After posting a .100 winning percentage a season ago, improvement is to be expected. How much the Lions improve this season remains to be seen, but there are some intriguing pieces on the roster.
As stated above, the Lions picked up just two wins last year. It wasn’t until the weekend of February 3rd and 4th that Lambton College would get into the win column with a pair of victories over Sault College. The Lions picked up a 63-35 win on the Saturday, and they followed that up with a 62-48 victory on the Sunday to complete the perfect weekend.
The two games marked just the fourth and fifth times that the Lions topped 60 points in a game all year long.
As a team, the offense averaged just 47.4 points per contest. They shot 26.9% from the floor, and 22.3% from three-point range. Lambton College struggled to find their groove on offense all season long, but several of their younger players showed some promise as their careers continue to unfold.
Guard Ashleigh Pettit appeared in 12 games for the Lions last season, her first with the program. In 25.4 minutes per contest, Pettit finished fourth on the team in scoring with an average of 7.4 points per game. She led the team with 1.9 steals per game, while she recorded 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists. As she begins her second year with the Lions, look for Pettit to play with more confidence and be a regular for head coach Kendel Ross.
Also back in the mix is the Lions’ leading scorer from last season, Madisyn Campbell. She was one of six players to appear in all 20 games for the Lions, making 12 starts in the process. Campbell led the team in both scoring and assists, posting 13.3 points and 2.4 assists per game to pace the offensive attack. Campbell shot 33.1% from the floor and 33.3% from three-point range for the year, both of which also led the team. Her return to the lineup will be a big boost in 2018-19.
In 2018-19, Campbell will be one of two fifth-year players, along with the returning Christine Fleischer.
Back in 2016-17, Fleischer averaged 11.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for the Lions. On defense, she racked up 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per contest. Fleischer was a dual threat for Lambton College, and she will look to put together a similar stat line in 2018-19 after missing last season.
Fleischer and Campbell were the Lions’ top two scorers back in the 2016-17 season, and all signs point to them leading the team on both ends of the floor again this season.
With only two fifth-year players on this year’s roster for the Lions, they will rely heavily on their youth for the bulk of their production. Campbell and Fleischer will undoubtedly be the leaders, but Lambton College will need others to step up and serve as complimentary pieces.
Nine players on this year’s roster are either first or second year players, so there will be some growing pains as they continue to get accustomed to the collegiate style of play. With that said, the opportunity is there for someone to step up, impress the coaching staff, and earn themselves a spot in the starting five as the season rolls along. With a younger roster, it may be another year or two before the Lions are back in the OCAA playoff picture.
The Lions open the season on October 18th at home against the Conestoga Condors, and they will be hoping to pick up their first win before the last month of the season.
– T. Bennett