Vanessa Lane is one of the area’s fastest prep athletes.
How does that translate onto a basketball court?
Pretty well if you ask Pequot Lakes Patriots head coach Jon Dale.
“She is just so athletic,” he said. “She gets up and down the floor so quickly and that fits into the style of game we want to play. She is always one of the wings on our fast break. This year she’s really gotten better at finishing.
“On defense, she’s our monster on our press and she brings a lot of that speed and quickness on both sides of the court. She’s also a quick jumper. She’s strong. She gets off the floor quick, which is why she’s able to get a lot of rebounds, too.”
Last season, despite missing nine games with an injury, Lane averaged 7.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.6 steals. She played a key role in Pequot’s fourth-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament.
This year, however, Lane has found her scoring touch.
“As you get older you become more confident and I have in myself,” said Lane. “I’m not afraid to drive it to the basket or take shots. The last couple of years I was very timid.
“Playing now, I know it’s time to step up. I’m taking more of that role, I guess, and while still playing as a team, if I have an open shot I’m more confident in taking it.”
Lane posted 14 points and 11 rebounds in a 51-49 victory over the Detroit Lakes Lakers Dec. 4.
In an 88-72 loss to Thief River Falls Dec. 7, she scored 20 points. One night later, Lane scored 25 to help Pequot to an 80-58 victory over East Grand Forks.
“She gets a lot of her points off the break,” said Dale. “She’s doing very well at taking the ball to the basket this year. She’s also very good at getting the rebounding and getting second-chance baskets. That’s where she utilizes her quickness the best, I think.
“Plus, she’s starting to understand the game a lot more. She’s always been quicker than everyone else so she could make up ground. Now she’s able to anticipate better and that makes her even quicker than before. She’s reading things and she sees the floor better.”
The junior said the goal is to get back to state. Pequot is the two-time defending Section 8-2A champion and she believes that talent and chemistry is just as good as it was the last two seasons.
“We all play really well together,” Lane said. “We have a connection with each other. We’re a five-dimensional team as opposed to being a one- or two-dimensional team. That helps with the whole team concept. We’re all good at rebounding, passing and shooting. We’re having fun with each other.”
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Chelsey Bonsante, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 19 points and 10 assists against Park Rapids and added 20 points against Hill City.
Jessica Kreitz, Pequot Lakes, finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Detroit Lakes.
Bethany Cressman, Lake Region, scored 24 points against Maplewood Academy.
Katelyn Peterson, Pillager, scored 21 points against New York Mills.
Teresa Moenkedick, Verndale, finished with 25 points and nine assists against Menahga and 25 points 10 rebounds and five assists against Bertha-Hewitt.
Megan Felthouse, Pine River-Backus, scored 21 points against Laporte.
Jasmine McGillivray, Staples-Motley, scored 21 points against Detroit Lakes.
Kelly Pearson, Staples-Motley, scored 21 points against Park Rapids.
Kayla Miller, Pequot Lakes, scored 29 points against East Grand Forks.
Gymnastics: Rachelle LeBlanc, Little Falls, won the all-around title with a 36.5 against Rush City.