ST. JOHN | As a squad, Lake Central's girls basketball team has hit 66 3-point shots this season.
As a pair, Gina Rubino and Tara Zlotkowski combine for 61 of those makes.
"It's nice to have them be an option for us," Indians coach Marc Urban said. "It allows you to do some things offensively to spread people out."
When the sophomore duo is on, they are a tough force to stop. In the postseason, the two combined for 11 3-point baskets in games that were won by 10, eight and four points. Rubino and Zlotkowski more than made up for the difference.
"With (Zlotkowski) being the point guard, it opens up two positions," Rubino said. "If she's open, she can shoot it, if she's not, she knows I can step back and shoot it."
With a pair of post players in Lindsey Kusbel and Jessica DelBovo hitting putbacks, and Jessica Bell's ability to hit bunny shots, the Indians complete a full game with Rubino and Zlotkowski.
"It's real nice to have them both on the floor at the same time, because it opens up for our bigs down low," Urban said. "You have to make a choice: are you going to help out with the bigs or stay on the shooter and our girls are really unselfish so they'll find the shot."
The Indians will pit their outside shooting against Merrillville on Saturday, a team that has hit 68 3s this season. The Duneland Athletic Conference foes will meet for the third time this year at the Valparaiso Regional in the first of two semifinal games.
The first time the teams met, Zlotkowski and Rubino combined for five 3s; the second time, Zlotkowski hit the Indians' only shot from behind the arc.
What helps the shooters continue to shoot is that both are patient and calm, Urban said. Rubino is 30-for-72 from 3-point land, good for 41.7 percent; Zlotkowski has hit 31 of 102, enough for 30.4 percent.
The two say that they rely on and feed off of each other.
"We come in and shoot around before school together and before a game," Zlotkowski said. "She gets my head right and lets me know when I'm off."
As a team, the Indians average 2.9 3s per game, which equals about eight or nine points. Their average margin of victory is seven points per game.
"It makes us versatile," Rubino said. "Some teams have only one shooter to rely on. We have even more than just the two of us."