Area Female Athlete: Pequot's Lane towers above competition
Pequot Lakes head coach Jon Dale believes Olivia Lane is better than her sister Vanessa Lane was at this point in her career.
That's high praise considering the elder Lane, who now runs track for South Dakota State University, was the Brainerd Dispatch Player of the Year and helped the Pequot Lakes Patriots to the Class 2A state basketball tournament.
But Vanessa Lane blossomed in her final two seasons on the basketball court. Olivia Lane has already staked her claim as a force to be reckoned with.
--- --- --- --- ---
- Year: Freshman
- School: Pequot Lakes
- Sport: Girls basketball
- Position: Post
- Highlights: Finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and two steals in win against Crosby-Ironton
--- --- --- --- ---
"I try to copy a lot of her game," Olivia Lane said of her sister. "I looked up to how she rebounded and she was fast on the court."
Dale clarified: "I think Olivia is way ahead of her sister at this age level. Vanessa worked hard to turn herself into a really good basketball player by the time she was a junior and senior. But at this stage of the game, Olivia is ahead of where her sister was.
"They do have different games. Olivia is a good shooter. She's quick off the dribble and obviously she gets a ton of rebounds. I think she's a little taller than Vanessa was so they're different players, but similar in athleticism."
The 5-foot-11 freshman is averaging 14.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game through the first 29 games of the season. She is shooting 51.2 percent from the field and has 24 assists as she and junior teammate Corina Ruud create the area's most dominating post combination.
"It's really beneficial having her play with me," said Lane. "I know if I miss she's likely going to get the rebound and put it back in and if she misses I can get the rebound. If one of us is double-teamed, we can always dish it over to the other side."
During the Patriots' 66-41 victory over Crosby-Ironton in the Section 7-2A quarterfinals March 5, Lane posted 22 points, 14 rebounds and two steals.
In limited action in a 73-22 win over Moose Lake-Willow River March 3, Lane still tallied seven points, six rebounds, five steals and two assists.
"She can play with her back to the basket and she can also take you off the dribble," said Dale. "She made a great move against Crosby. It was later in the game, but it was so explosive. It was facing the basket out by the perimeter. I think she can do both. That's something she couldn't do last year.
"She works very hard. She comes in every morning and shoots and works on foot drills. She's really impressive to me."
The-two year varsity player has 15 double-doubles this season including a 25-point, 17-rebound performance against Milaca Feb. 20. She scored a season-high 26 points to go with 11 rebounds against St. Cloud Cathedral Dec. 8.
"Our goal is to make it to state this weekend," said Lane. "Our other goals this year were to beat some good teams like Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Detroit Lakes. We wanted to work together as a team and use our strengths more.
"Our schedule we had a really hard two weeks where we had to play some tough teams and that just made us better. We started to work faster and more as a team and that's just helped go farther with these season."
In 20 games last season, Lane averaged 3.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals a game to go with 10 assists and 13 blocked shots.
"I think she's night and day from last year, but I also think from the start of this season to now she's improved so much," Dale said. "She's so smart. She doesn't get herself in too much foul trouble. She has a better understanding as she has played the whole year. We've played some good teams and she's figured out how to adjust especially defensively.
"I think she's improved a ton from the start of the season and she's not even the same girl as she was last year."