Daniel Kenney and the Lacombe Rams fell 90-76 to the Notre Dame Cougars on Jan. 10, 2020. (Todd Colin Vaughan/LACOMBE EXPRESS)

Cougars pounce on first half Lacombe Rams struggles on way to 90-76 win

Second half Ram heroics not enough to cut into early 25-point deficit

Lacombe Rams 76 – 90 Notre Dame Cougars

It was a disappointing start to 2020 for the Lacombe Rams Senior Boys Basketball team after a promising first half to their season.

A fast-paced, high octane second half was not enough to make up for a sluggish first half against the Notre Dame Cougars, ultimately leading to 90-76 defeat.

Coach Tylor Johannesson chalked up the loss to a lack of practice time.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get a practice during the Christmas break. We couldn’t get gym time and it showed. We were very rusty,” he said.

The Rams relied on 30 points from Guard Jared Gamble and a tonne of hustle plays from Forward Lubenson Pannenbecker to keep it close, but an early press from the Cougars confounded the Rams leading to an early 25-point deficit.

“We won by nine in the second half because we came out and actually played basketball,” Johannesson said.

Much of the second half success was attributed to a full-court press which prevented the Cougars from setting up their dominant half court post game.

“We went full-court pressure man-to-man, but I don’t like doing that to start because we get tired quickly. It may be something we look at going forward to start games to give us some energy. We haven’t started games well,” Johannesson said. “It looked good. We couldn’t score in the half court, so it helped us get some points.”

Johannesson credited much of the presses success to the energy of Pannenbecker.

“He is an animal. We were missing him after he got hurt in a tournament a few weeks ago. I can play him all game and he works his butt off. He is really our heart and soul and he makes us go. When he is on, it helps the rest of the team,” he said.

The Rams coach said the second half shows that the Rams will be near the top come playoff time.

“Last year we lost to Hunting by 40 during the regular season and we beat them in the semis by 15. I think one of my strengths is that I am good at watching film and adjusting to the things we need to adjust to. I think it is clear we need to work out on press break and rebound a bit more,” he said.

The margin of error this year between the three city 4A schools and Lacombe is very narrow.

“I think we are close. Hunting beat Thurber by three points, so they are close. Notre Dame has a lot of length and they keep coming at you,” he said.

“I think we will be there at the end of the day.”

The Rams now hit the road before a break for diploma exams.

“We aren’t home again until February. In February we will go hard and hopefully be able to host a playoff game or two,” Johannesson said.


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