NILES - Lakeview coach Adam Lewis normally saves the captain distinction for seniors, but he's made an exception for Allie Pavlik.
After the Bulldogs' first four games of the season, Lewis said he felt the junior guard proved herself worthy of the role.
"About two games ago, we moved her up to the captain's role," he said. "As a junior, she's really a leader on the floor. This new role for her has been important, and I think she's done a really good job with it."
Tribune Chronicle / Michael Taylor
Niles’ Angel Gordon tries to steal the ball from Lakeview’s Allie Pavlik, who had 27 points and eight steals in a 58-30 victory on Monday in Niles.
Pavlik showed her leadership skills Monday night, as the Bulldogs beat Niles in a 58-30 win.
The junior captain led all scorers with 27 points and added eight steals, as Lakeview pulled itself back to a .500 record.
"For me, it's a huge deal (to be captain)," Pavlik said. "That means I have to step up more and lead the team more. For (Lewis) to give me that role, I'm really honored. I'm just trying to be the best leader that I can be out there."
The Bulldogs (3-3) struggled shooting the ball, with Lakeview shooting only 33.8 percent from the field.
Even Pavlik struggled early in the game, going 3 of 11 from the field in the first quarter, but Lewis said he's not too concerned with the team's shooting performance.
"Where we are right now, I just want us to come out and play hard every night," he said. "I believe that the shots are going to fall eventually. We're a young team. Everybody's trying to find their identity and their role."
Despite the bad shooting numbers, Lakeview managed to pull away from Niles (2-4) early, thanks in large part to an unrelenting pressure defense.
The Bulldogs employed a 1-2-1-1 full-court press that harassed the Red Dragons up and down the court, while Lakeview's man defense in the half court forced numerous steals. Overall, Niles turned the ball over 36 times.
Pavlik said that though the full-court press normally forces most of the steals, it wasn't as effective against the Red Dragons. Instead, the man-to-man defense proved to be more troublesome for Niles.
"I thought that our man-to-man defense is what really put it in because we forced those turnovers and then gone for the layup," she said. "That's how we got most of our points. But our press is usually very effective, and that's where we get our steals because we're so good at pressuring the ball."
For Niles, coach Erica Wilson said that she had some positives to take out of the game.
Last season, the Red Dragons lost to Lakeview by 60 points, meaning the deficit this year is a huge improvement. Also, the team played with more purpose than its previous two games.
"We started the season off 2-1, but then we really lost the intensity the last two games," she said. "I put it out there that I needed to see it (Monday night), I didn't care what the score was. That's a huge thing for us that we brought the intensity back."