Teams practice all summer and into the fall to get to opening night. Once there, they still aren't sure what kind of team they will be until the first official game is played.
Lakeview, 21-2 last season, found out it hasn't missed a beat as a veteran group looks to build on the success they had last year.
The Spartans rolled in their season opener, beating Marshall, 45-16, in girls basketball non-conference action at Lakeview High School on Tuesday.
"You never know what you are going to get in Game 1. But in all honestly, I don't think I could be more pleased," Lakeview coach Blake Shaw said. "We have a ton of experience. I have my seniors and I have my sophomore that played in a regional final last year. We have been through the wars and they know how to handle it for sure and I think you saw that tonight."
The Spartans' experience showed up early and often as Lakeview jumped out to a big advantage quickly. The Spartans were up 10-3 after six quick points by senior center Katie Belmore. A late fast break pull-up jumper by sophomore Anya Rankin made it 14-3 going into the end of the first quarter.
Overall, Lakeview held Marshall to eight points in the first half as the Spartans led 21-8 at intermission.
"They know that is our DNA, our staple, we are going to defend and we did that tonight," Shaw said.
Lakeview put the game away early in the third quarter on back-to-back long jumpers by Rankin for a 37-10 lead.
Rankin led the Spartans with 14 points, with Katie Belmore adding 10 and Madie Belmore chipping in seven.
While Lakeview has five returning seniors that all played major minutes on Tuesday, Marshall is on the other end of the experience spectrum. The Redhawks saw their starting five from last year all leave the program due to graduation.
"(Lakeview) is a very experienced team with a lot of girls coming back that have played a lot of minutes on varsity and we don't have that," Marshall coach Lance Hawblitz said. "But what I told our players, what you saw today is going to be completely different from what you will see at the end of the year. This year, I know this team is young now, but will be much improved by the end of the year."
More Girls Basketball
Pennfield 46, Otsego 38
Kaylee Glidden helped Pennfield put this season-opening win away by making 9-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter as the Panthers hit 13-of-14 from the line overall in the final period. Glidden led Pennfield with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Emilee Klacking added 12 points and three rebounds as Natalie Hensel chipped in with nine points, six rebounds and five blocks.
Battle Creek Academy 29, Tekonsha 22
Battle Creek Academy led 17-13 after the third quarter in this low-scoring game before pulling away late. Freshman Sofia Keller led BCA with 12 points and Olivia Keller added a dozen.
Charlotte 48, Battle Creek Central 34
BCC opened the season with a non-conference loss. A'Mya Hodges led the Bearcats wtih 14 points and Myliyah Mosely added 10.
Coldwater 26, Portage Central 24
Coldwater held Portage Central to six points in the second half for the non-conference win. Elli Foley had 10 points and five rebounds to lead the Cardinals.
West Ottawa 59, Gull Lake 19
Gull Lake fell behind 37-11 at halftime in this non-conference contest. Bree Eklund had six points to lead the Blue Devils.
Olivet 58, Springport 35
Payton Otto had 24 points, nine rebounds and six steals to lead Olivet in its opener. Kara Priddy added 11 points and Emmalie Letts chipped in with seven points, 10 rebounds and five steals.
Allegan 43, Delton Kellogg 33
Delton Kellogg was led by Josie Williams with 14 points and Cadence Johnson added nine.
Contact Bill Broderick at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @billbroderick
This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Lakeview impresses as girls basketball season tips off