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Lady Lions 'not ready for it to end'
Lakeview Academy's Jesse Snow prepares to throw a pass in Wednesday's practice. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times
Lakeview girls vs. Paideia
When: 5:30 tonight
Where: Atlanta
Records: Lakeview (17-7); Paideia (18-10)
Seeds: Lakeview No. 3 Region 8-A; Paideia No. 2 seed Region 7-A
Coaches: Lakeview, Buster Brown. Paideia, Paul Meiere, Jr.
Key players: Lakeview, G Louisa Jacobs (5-8, Jr.); G Maddie Haymore (5-6, Jr.); F Meghan Rochester (5-7, Jr.). Paideia, PF/C Alex Abraham (5-11, Jr.); PG/SG Courtney Creer (5-8, Sr.).
Outlook: Paideia comes in as the ninth-ranked team in the state having won nine of its last 11 games. The Lady Pythons don’t just play one defense nor are they great in one area, but instead do a little bit of everything well.
On paper, the matchup is even. Both teams average just over 40 points per game and allow only 34.
However, what’s been the case all season still rings true in the first round of the state playoffs: Lakeview is, on average, smaller than its opponent and that could cause problems.
The ninth-ranked Lady Pythons boast two 5-11 post players in Abraham and sophomore Aneesah Daniels, meaning rebounds will be harder to come by for Lakeview and scoring in the halfcourt will be diffcult.
The Lady Lions have made a practice of beating their opponents down the floor all season and tonight’s game should be no exception. A key to victory for Lakeview will be making the easy shot opportunites that come their way by running the floor, and Haymore, Jacobs and Brittany Moore hitting 3-pointers and short jumpers.
“We’re going to have to play really well to have a chance to win,” Brown said.
In preparation for tonight’s state tournament game against ninth-ranked Paideia, Lakeview Academy Lady Lions coach Buster Brown shared a story with his girls.

As a No. 4 seed out of Region 6-AA in the state tournament a year ago, Paideia made it to the state title game.

The Lady Panthers were underdogs with nothing to lose and played that way, stringing together wins at just the right time.
In the state title game, they lost to Wesleyan by 37 points. That mattered little, however, to a team that could share in the life lesson learned by rising up when counted out.

The underdog badge is one that the Lakeview girls have worn with pride this season.

Without a player over five-feet, eight-inches and a rotation that rarely goes past six, the Lady Lions (17-7) have been outmanned, outsized and seen their fair share of better athletes over the course of the regular season.

“I’m real thankful,” Lakeview coach Buster Brown said. “This group went beyond expectations.”

Five upperclassmen and five freshmen make up the Lakeview roster.

The upperclassmen are the starters and play the most minutes, the freshmen, “Have taken the grief I’ve given them and gotten better,” Brown said with a smile.

At the head of it all is senior four-year starter Brittany Moore.

“I don’t know that you can ask more than what she gives us,” said Brown of Moore, who averaged a team-best 11 points per game in last week’s region tournament.

“She has the respect of her teammates and teachers; she’s just a great young lady.”
Moore said she’s focused on winning the school’s first state tournament game since the run to the state semifinals in 2005.

“I’m not ready for it to end,” Moore said. “Winning a state game would be the best; it makes me sad to even think about not being on this team anymore.”

The Lady Lions make up for their lack of size with desire and unselfishness, evidenced first and foremost by Louisa Jacobs, who switched from her more natural position of forward to point guard this season to accommodate the team’s needs.

“Louisa (Jacobs) has been really solid for us all year,” Brown said, “and luckily has come on as a scorer from the point guard position, too.”

Taking her place at the forward position was senior Jesse Snow, who plays down low alongside Megan Rochester.

“Neither are true post players,” Brown said, “but both do a tremendous job.

“There hasn’t been a game this season that they haven’t been outsized, but they just keep working.”

According to Brown, Rochester being the team’s fastest player fits in perfectly with their primary post game: beating the other team down the floor.

“Let’s just say it helps when Megan (Rochester) is hitting her layups,” Brown said with a smile.

Rochester and Snow make up what Brown considers his workhorse crew.

“They put in more minutes that anyone and are just where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there,” he said.

Rounding out the upperclassmen, and starting five, is Maddie Haymore, the team’s leading scorer.

“She is our most aggressive player and just makes things happen,” Brown said. “Having a player like her — she’s indispensible.”

As indispensible as the rest of the 10 roster players on a Lady Lions’ team relishing their underdog role.

“There haven’t been many Lakeview teams that have made it past the first round,” Rochester said. “But we know we can, we know what this team can do.”
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