An undefeated regular season and league and sectional titles are often huge momentum-builders for a program that has struggled in the past.
First-year Lake girls basketball coach Denny Meyer, whose team accomplished all of the above this season, hopes the Flyers will have momentum on their side when the 2009-10 season rolls around.
Lake went 22-1 and won its first Suburban Lakes League title this season. The Flyers' season ended on Mar. 7 with a 45-41 loss to Liberty-Benton in the Division III district championship game. Lake's junior varsity team also went 19-1 this year.
"I look for this (success) to help a lot," Meyer said. "We had so many younger kids coming to our games, some who I don't think had ever gone to games before. I held a camp last year, my first year, in the summer and we had maybe 60 kids. I have probably already had 60 kids ask me when I'm holding camp next year.
"When you get that many people coming to your games and seeing how hard the girls play, that's going to make the younger kids get very excited and want to be a part of something like that, also."
Meyer credited the Flyers' four senior captains - guard Rebekah Will, post players Lauren Lind and Heather Cox and guard-post Kelsey McCloskey - for keeping the team moving in ther right direction all season.
Will, a transfer from Oak Harbor, was a first-team All-SLL and all-district selection this year after averaging 9.5 points per game and leading the team in rebounding, assists and steals.
"I've known Rebekah since eighth grade and I knew she was a big-time leader," Meyer said. "She was at Oak Harbor for three years and she didn't show a lot of leadership because she knew there were upperclassmen there. Last year's team had six seniors on the team and she was a junior. Those six were pretty good leaders, too."
Lind averaged 7.8 points per game, but she saw limited action the last half of the season. She was an honorable mention all-league selection.
"I've also known Lauren since eighth grade and she had great leadership qualities," Meyer said. “Sometimes, whether she had a bad attitude or it looked that way, that kind of got in the way of her being a leader. I had a meeting with the team and I pulled her aside and told her I've watched her for years, and I said she would end up being in big trouble with me or she would end up being a captain for me. She just needed some discipline. She showed this year she has big-time leadership qualities."
Cox and McCloskey averaged 6.0 and 2.8 points per game, respectively. Cox was a second-team all-league pick.
"Heather is one that you can tell right away she can be a captain," Meyer said. "She's not a superstar, she just goes out and works hard every day and does all the things a coach asks her do.
"Kelsey was one I didn't really know. Once we started open gyms in the spring, even though she was in track she would come around and shoot in the open gym. In the summer leagues and shootouts, I was surprised how much she brought to the team and her leadership abilities. Out of the four captains, she played the least amount of minutes but she always practiced hard and pushed everyone else."
Meyer said Lake's fan following increased as the season progressed. The Flyers, he said, used that fan support to their advantage.
"Our first game at Genoa, we got to the gym at 5:10 p.m. and our part of the stands was completely full," Meyer said. "We played Genoa again at our place and we ended up having 1,900 people. That was the first time that Lake (girls) had ever sold out. It definitely motivated us."
Sophomore Kaysie Brittenham was named first-team All-SLL and second-team all-district. Junior Kimberly Meyer was a second-team all-league selection and sophomore Jessica Abby was an honorable mention pick.