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Girls Basketball: Pequot's Lane still working toward success

Olivia Lane has been a fixture of Brainerd lakes area basketball for four seasons now. She's verbally committed to play Division I women's basketball at the University of North Dakota when she graduates from high school next year. She's a state c...

Olivia Lane of Pequot Lakes collects a rebound against Pillager's Bailey Knoblauch (left) and Sadie Hopman (12) in a regular-season game this season. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
Olivia Lane of Pequot Lakes collects a rebound against Pillager's Bailey Knoblauch (left) and Sadie Hopman (12) in a regular-season game this season. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Olivia Lane has been a fixture of Brainerd lakes area basketball for four seasons now.

She's verbally committed to play Division I women's basketball at the University of North Dakota when she graduates from high school next year.

She's a state champion track and field athlete. She's helped the Pequot Lakes Patriots advance to the state basketball tournament and she's surpassed 1,000 career points.

Despite being a junior, Lane's resume is already prolific, but she has so much more she wants to accomplish.

"Losing to Proctor (in the Section 7-2A playoffs) meant something to her," Pequot head coach Katrina Moody said. "She still wants to go to state. She still wants a state championship. She wants to have a winning season with her teammates and she works hard for that.

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"The biggest thing we talked about this year is how are you going to make the people around you better. That's ultimately what she's going to have to do for us to win games."

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Olivia Lane

  • Year: Junior
  • School: Pequot Lakes
  • Position: Post
  • Season stats: Finished with 640 points (22.1), 386 rebounds (13.4), 48 assists (1.7), 69 steals (2.4), 29 blocks (1.0). She shot 50.5 percent (263-521) from the field, 63.1 percent (101-160) from the foul line, 28.9 percent (13-45) from 3-point.

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The 6-foot-1 junior post led the area in total points by 150 points. Her 22.1 points per game average led the area by almost four points per game. She had 101 more rebounds than the next closest player in the lakes area and averaged almost three rebounds more per game than any other player. She landed in the top 20 for assists, was sixth in total steals, fourth in blocks, fourth in field goal percentage and was a top 20 free throw shooter.

Those numbers are why Lane was selected the 2017-18 Brainerd Dispatch Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

"Basketball has been my passion ever since I started in second grade," Lane said. "It's my favorite sport. I think just being on the team is the strong thing for me. My passion has grown for me as improvement has come."

Pequot Lakes finished 18-11. The Patriots won the Mid-State Conference with an 8-2 record and won eight of their last nine games before bowing out of the playoffs with a 62-43 loss to Proctor in the section semifinals.

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"I think that we did a really good job at the end of this season," Lane said. "At the beginning, we were a little off, but throughout the season we understood each other more and understood the plays and the new coaching staff. I'm really proud of how our team improved from the beginning of the season to the end."

But Lane knows there's much work to be done for her team and for herself. She concentrated on expanding her shooting range this season and that again will be a focal point of her offseason work. That and developing a stronger left hand. She was pleased with the strides she made this year and credited her coach, who introduced new concepts and strategies to the Patriots' program this season.

"We worked a lot on small things that go into the big picture," Lane said. "That helped. We concentrated more time on different skills. We worked specifically on post moves and posts and wings working together and I think that definitely has helped. She brought some new things into our program.

"It'll take some more understanding of each other on the court because everything was new this year. We improved a lot on the new stuff that we had. I think next year, if we keep improving on that stuff, then I think we'll have a shot (at state). We just need to work and jell and understand each other more as a team."

Moody added that Lane saw more attention from defenses this season with the graduation of former teammate Corina Rude and the fact that Lane was the main inside presence. The two worked on dealing with that added pressure all season.

"She drew two or three girls every game," Moody said. "She had to learn when to take the opportunity to take the ball to the basket or when it was better to pass it. I'm guessing in the past she was able to take a couple of dribbles down low, but now with three girls around her this year she couldn't dribble to the basket or to make a post move. She had to learn to do that without dribbling.

"She did work a lot on her outside game and it did help us this year, but it's more of critiquing those little things because the game is changing with her. As she's growing older, she's drawing more attention and she has to figure some things out.

"We talked early in the season, I said, 'You're going to score your 20 points a game, but do you want to score 20 points and win or do you just want to score 20 points?' She really bought into that. She knew she needed her teammates in order to win games.

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"Individually, she is really a great athlete. She's going to do all of her stuff to get her points, but if she wants to win games she's going to have to pass the ball."

Moody said Lane lived up to her expectations. She called her coachable and a hard worker and said the potential is there for Lane to be a successful college basketball player.

"I think she can get there," Moody said. "Coming from a Division II program, I don't want to say I know what she needs to do, but I feel like I had an opportunity and kind of know what you need to do in high school to be successful your freshman season. Many players take two or three years before they actually give something to that program.

"There are things we need to work on to get her there. I think the biggest thing is just knowing the game and the situations. That just comes from experience and getting in close games. She's strong enough to go."

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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