ST. JOHN | Rolanda Curington admits it took some convincing to turn her into a post player.
With her athleticism, and only one Lake Central player on the roster taller than 6-foot, Curington quickly learned how much she was needed to box out, post up and shoot from under the basket.
In the first quarter of Friday's 60-29 senior night victory over Valparaiso, Curington grabbed eight of her 10 rebounds and scored seven of her 13 points. She had six of those points on putbacks.
"Our team isn't that tall so I've had to adjust to being more of a post player," the senior said. "At first it wasn't agreeing with me. I've worked hard and gotten much better at it.
"Being a senior, I feel like I've tried to become more of a leader this year."
Curington will head to St. Joseph's College next year, where she said the Pumas hope she'll play all positions as well.
"She's probably playing out of her natural position, so she is a mismatch for most people," Lake Central coach Marc Urban said. "Being athletic, she's capable of doing what we need her to."
With the fast start by Curington joined by a slow start by the Vikings (8-9, 2-5 Duneland Athletic Conference), the Indians (17-2, 6-1) took a 21-3 lead early.
Valparaiso missed all nine of its first-quarter shots and didn't hit a field goal until the 6:53 mark of the second quarter, or 9:07 into the game.
"(Lake Central) hit almost every shot it took in the first quarter," Valparaiso coach Joe Otis said. "We could have played well and lost by 15, but we didn't play well and lost by 30.
"Against great teams like this, that are solid at all five spots, we need to be better offensively. They had a real good half-court defense that forced us to hurry and we got frustrated."
Vikings junior Grace Withrow tied for a game-high lead with 14 points, joining Lake Central's Tara Zlotkowski.
Indians junior Gina Rubino chipped in 12 points, all from behind the 3-point line. Post player Lindsay Kusbel added 10 rebounds for L.C.
"We started just playing Lake Central basketball," Curington said. "We did what we had to do to get ahead early. Since (Urban) started coaching here, defense has been a main part of what we do, so it was important for us to get out and get at it early."