Girls Basketball inched out by Payton in first home game


Mara Mellits

Caroline Meyers (44) fields a rebound.

By Megan Camacho, Sports Editor

Following a Thanksgiving Tournament full of away games against tough opponents, Lane (2-6, 0-2 conference) took to Lane Gymnasium for a game for the first time this season on Dec. 7, taking on the Payton Grizzlies.

“We were more than ready for this game and eager to play on the home court because there’s nothing better than playing at Lane,” said Head Coach Megan Molloy postgame.

After a back-and-forth affair, the Grizzlies came away victorious, taking a 53-49 victory.

Lane anticipated a challenging matchup against Payton, who are second in the Chicago Public League Red North/West conference. But Lane came ready to seize their first conference win — the matchup would prove to be a healthy challenge for the team, who utilized the Thanksgiving Tournament as an opportunity for improvement.

The aggressive defense was key for both Payton and Lane. Lane started off slow, as Payton took command of the first quarter with consistent rebounds. Fouls from Payton gave Lane opportunities to establish themselves on the scoreboard, along with rebounds from Anastasia Lamperis and three-pointers from Lauren Collins and Marissa Ulie.

The second quarter flared in intensity, with defense from both teams drawing more attempts at three-pointers. The score tied several times, first with a free throw from Lamperis and again with a three-pointer from Katrina Arsenijevic. But the Grizzlies answered back to end the first half, with Payton’s Ella Glascott solidifying a 30-22 lead for her team with a three-pointer.

Lane built momentum at the start of the second half, going neck and neck with Payton. Both teams saw a steady exchange of points and established solid defense, but Payton saw greater success in breaking through the perimeter and killing Lane’s rebound attempts.

In a stunning final stretch, the score tied several times again. Lane caught up to Payton with free throws from Lamperis and Mimi Rector, tying the game at 44-44. A brief drought in scoring would soon be broken by Payton, and although Lane came close with just a four-point deficit, Payton went on to score and win 53-49.

Despite the loss, the team’s ability to respond to critical situations shined.

“I think we took the pressure and used it to excite us, to keep going and bring the energy up,” said small forward Caroline Meyers. “Everyone on the bench was great. And we kept playing as one team and did a really good job working as one team.”

And according to Collins, the team is seeing great improvement in their dynamic.

“We definitely did a lot better rebounding and I think we’re getting really coherent as a team,” she said. “It’s really helpful when our coach reigns us in with timeouts, it’s really centering and we can all kind of come together as a team.”

Overcoming hard losses after the tournament may have contributed to some rust coming into the Payton matchup, but Lane’s energy and potential is glaringly clear.

“I think we can believe in ourselves a little more,” said Molloy. “I think when you’re in a tough Thanksgiving tournament and you’re losing to harder teams, it brings you down. I think for this game, even though we lost, we could win. We felt it.”

In their second game at home, Lane seized a close victory at 40-39 against DePaul on Dec. 11. Then the team will be back on the road for several matchups, facing New Trier on Dec. 13. Their next home game is Dec. 14 at 5 pm against North Lawndale.