2017-12-09 / Sports

Lady Lakers Growing and Improving on the Basketball Court

By Jacob A. Ball


The 2017-18 Mackinac Island Lakers girls basketball squad (from left) Ella Cowell, Cheyla Shunk, Mabel Styburski, Hannah Styburski, coach Mary Patay, Clara Chambers, Nora Bailey, Makenna Horricks, and Brooke Dziobak. Not pictured is seventh grader Megan Horricks. The 2017-18 Mackinac Island Lakers girls basketball squad (from left) Ella Cowell, Cheyla Shunk, Mabel Styburski, Hannah Styburski, coach Mary Patay, Clara Chambers, Nora Bailey, Makenna Horricks, and Brooke Dziobak. Not pictured is seventh grader Megan Horricks. The Mackinac Island Lakers girls basketball team and Coach Mary Patay are hoping that another season of experience will translate into more wins for the squad. With no seniors on the team last year, the Lakers will return all of their athletes from the previous season. With much more experience under their belt, Coach Patay said it was evident this team was going to be more competitive from the first day of practice.

Often Mackinac Island is at a disadvantage with fielding a full roster, and must rely on middle school students for significant minutes of play. The main benefit of this is that after a couple of seasons of very young teams, now those same players have far more confidence and experience as they enter high school. Three new players join the team for the new season, including two seventh graders, Nora Bailey and Megan Horricks, and one 10th grader, Makenna Horricks.


Sophomore captain Hannah Styburski attempts to lay up a shot with power over a Maplewood defender. She led her team in scoring with six points on the night. Sophomore captain Hannah Styburski attempts to lay up a shot with power over a Maplewood defender. She led her team in scoring with six points on the night. Coach Patay has chosen sophomore Hannah Styburski and freshman Brooke Dziobak as captains for the 2017-18 season. Both have played several seasons with the team, and have far more varsity experience than would typically be expected of underclassmen. There are nine players on the roster, including senior Cheyla Shunk playing in her last season for the Lakers.

Going into this season, their coach has emphasized setting picks, boxing out, and working toward a better defensive strategy. She knows her relatively young squad will still need to focus on fundamentals if they hope to improve on their finish from last season.

Freshman Ella Cowell heads toward the hoop against Maplewood Baptist Friday night, December 1. She drew a foul on the play to convert the fast break opportunity into two free throws.Freshman Ella Cowell heads toward the hoop against Maplewood Baptist Friday night, December 1. She drew a foul on the play to convert the fast break opportunity into two free throws.“They are seeing the open person quicker, but now we just need to connect on those passes quicker, too,” Coach Patay said.

She hopes her team can develop a balanced scoring attack that will be able to make baskets on the interior and the perimeter. One issue that needs to be corrected for this to happen, she said, is a better orientation to the basket. Instead of standing and waiting for the ball, she wants her forwards to focus on proper positioning where they can receive the ball and go directly into a layup.

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