Already one of the up-and-coming players in the Peoria area as a freshman, Tatym Lamprecht has elevated her game to the point of pushing East Peoria girls basketball forward as a sophomore this season.
Her 38 points propelled East Peoria past Limestone 55-49 on Wednesday, Feb. 17. That marked the Raiders’ first win in Mid-Illini Conference play since 2017, ending a 48-game conference losing streak. Her aggressiveness on the offensive end yielded her 20 free-throw attempts. She made 18.
“I didn’t think I would score that many points,” Lamprecht quietly admitted.
Her coach, Khassandrae Brown, is less modest about the sophomore, who also has scoring performances of 24 and 23 under her belt this season.
“She doesn’t shy away from contact like you get with incoming freshman up against seniors like we had last year,” Brown said. ” She’s definitely gotten more aggressive and stronger. She has worked on her shooting which has helped a lot, because now they have to respect the shot and the drive from her. She does a phenomenal job of getting to the basket.”
Her shot has been the biggest difference in going from approximately 13 points per game a season ago to being a threat to score well over 20 every night as a sophomore. With an unconventional shooting stroke — the follow-through takes her closer to the basket than more traditional form — Lamprecht naturally ends up chasing her own shot. Still, she’s not chasing misses as much as she used to.
Acting as the Raiders’ primary ball-handler as well as their most potent offensive weapon, Lamprecht has long had to face the focused attention of opposing defenses.
“I got a lot better at shooting this year and drawing fouls,” Lamprecht said.
“I’m a lot more confident with the ball last year than I was last year.”
She has grown accustomed to box-and-1’s, triangle-and-2’s, and sometimes just facing three people in her face all at once. Teams will do a lot when playing East Peoria to make anyone but the high-scoring sophomore beat them.
Lamprecht cited her time playing for her Heart of Illinois travel squad this past summer, when she couldn’t work out with her varsity team due to coronavirus restrictions, as a large part of what has propelled her into a productive sophomore campaign.
“We hadn’t been practicing that much and it’s a lot harder doing school online,” she said about the beginning of the school year.
Others on East Peoria have begun to have to strengthen their roles on the team. Fellow class of 2023 player Paige Creviston has shown Brown glimpses of being a strong player in the post.
Seniors Jexie Bolding and Rileigh Fortune are contributing as starters for an otherwise young team. Fortune, who didn’t play as a junior to focus more on running, has aided the team this year. Kaylie Hammel, who broke her arm two years ago, wasn’t even sure about playing but is now acting as a secondary ball-handler.
“We’re trying to get some other pieces to that puzzle to all fit together,” Brown said. “When she (Lamprecht) is double-teamed or the attempt is to take her out of the offense and not let her beat (them), that we have someone that can step up and fill that roll.”
But doing so against powerful conference foes like Morton, Metamora, Dunlap, Pekin and Washington, who have all been beating up on one another in February, is easier said than done.
The Raiders are after all 1-7 in Mid-Illini play after a 73-37 loss to Dunlap Saturday. Still, they’ve made big strides this season have two-plus more seasons to build upon with Lamprecht.
“We’re real low on numbers so we have a few from each class,” Brown said. “Before the win against Limestone, we had lost 48 (straight) conference games so to finally get one of those was huge for us. We’ve been competing. Against Canton they beat us at home and then we went there and only lost by 10 and it was a close game and competitive. We’re just trying to build on that win and keep trying to compete.”