BRIGHTON — After a 3-20 campaign in 2015-16, the Legacy girls basketball team really had nowhere to go but up this season, and they had much of the group that endured that rough record back looking for more.
A 73-41 win on Thursday night over Prairie View represented much of what the Lightning have been able to do since the beginning of December: scoring points at will. It has led to a 6-1 mark already — an ascent that has surpassed coach Craig Van Patten's expectations to this point.
A team that had trouble breaking 40 points in any game last year is putting up 60 a contest so far, and it has been a balanced attack getting the job done.
"In years past we've been fortunate to have some pretty amazing players, but it's been one or two girls. This year I think we have four or five girls averaging close to 10 points a game," Van Patten said after watching his team shoot 11-for-16 in the first quarter of the tournament game at Brighton High School. "It's a group of great kids that have bought in to the team game and making that extra pass, do whatever it takes to get the win. I thought we might struggle at the beginning but we have gelled quickly."
"Team-wise, we're working together so well right now and just starting to step up," said Vanessa Romo, a four-year varsity player. "Everyone is on the same page. It's a lot better feeling."
Romo was one of several girls that came out firing against the ThunderHawks (4-3), and that wasn't a surprise given she was the team's leading scorer last year.
All five starters scored in the first quarter, however, and that carried on throughout as Prairie View struggled to stop the Lightning inside and in transition. It was 34-13 at half, but after settling for more outside shots in the second quarter LHS really went to work in the paint in the third quarter.
Kaylea Beck hit some inside shots, and the combination of Halle Mankewicz and Anya Carlson gave PVHS fits in the second half. Mankewicz, a freshman, finished with 14 points and Carlson added 12.
"We have a stronger post down there, and we're also trying real hard to create offense with our defense," Romo said after finishing with nine rebounds, too. "Our main thing at half-time was going to more cuts to the basket and hitting those girls every time for easy shots."
Added Van Patten of his two starting posts: "They're undersized but athletic and they do some things out there that opponents can't match. They're good revelations this season; I thought they'd be good but they're playing even better than I expected."
The Lightning forced 15 turnovers and held Prairie View's Mack Maier, averaging 18 points a game coming in, to just nine points through three quarters.
Legacy has just one game left before holiday break, another contest at Brighton against Gateway.
Legacy 73, Prairie View 41
At Brighton HS
Kenson 4 0-0 10, Valenzuela 0 0-2 0, Pedersen 4 3-4 12, Beck 3 0-0 6, Zamora 1 6-8 8, Romo 4 0-0 9, Liversedge 0 0-0 0, Knudson 1 0-0 2, Mackewicz 6 2-4 14, Carlson 5 2-2 12. Totals 28 13-20 73.
PRAIRIE VIEW (4-3)
Maier 6 3-6 18, Bertrand 2 0-0 6, DeLorenzo 1 0-2 2, Cramer 0 0-0 0, Romero 0 0-2 0, Heffelfinger 0 0-0 0, Cabrera 1 1-2 3, Barra 0 1-2 1, Skinner 4 3-5 11, Stevens 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 8-19 41.
Score by quarters:Legacy 25 9 22 17 — 73
3-point field goals — Legacy (4): Kenson 2, Pedersen, Romo; Prairie View (5): Maier 3, Bertrand 2. Technical fouls — Legacy coach.