The material lasts forever and on Saturday afternoon the 2020-2021 Lake Land Women’s Basketball Team received a memory they will cherish for the rest of her life.
At halftime of the men’s game against Mineral Area, the college honored the Lady Lakers by presenting them with their national championship rings. The former Lady Shoe of Teutopolis Olivia Niemerg and the Indian of Altamont JoAnna Schultz were among the individuals. Former Effingham Heart Abby Weis was also a member of the squad but was unable to attend as Maryville had a game on the same day.
“It shows all the hard work we’ve put in all season and we’ve done it for Coach [Johnson]Niemerg said, receiving his ring. âHe’s doing so much behind the scenes that nobody knows with all the screening and stuff, so we just won it for ourselves. For the Land of the Lake. For everyone.”
Lake Land ended its championship season 25-2, winning its last 16 games. They beat fourth-seeded Johnson County in the National Championship game, 53-49, on April 24.
For Schultz, however, the ring represents more than that year.
âI think this ring represents two great seasons. The first season we couldn’t go to the national championships because of COVID, and in all honesty we could have two rings, âSchultz said. âThis ring means a lot because this is the first Lake Land National Championship in the history of the school and being a part of it means we are part of history. From now on, we’ll have it forever.
Plus, as local products, all three understand the value of earning after accomplishing this during their respective high school careers.
Niemerg won three regional championships and won two trips to the state tournament in Teutopolis, while Weis won two regional championships in Effingham and Schultz won three in Altamont.
However, none of the three were able to accomplish what Lake Land did – win it all.
Schultz said: âThis is something you will never forget and the people in our small areas will never forget. To this day, I still hear people say, âCongratulations. It’s awesome.’ It’s amazing because Lake Land is a community of small communities coming together, so that’s what it means to us.
Niemerg added: âI think it’s great how many local girls we had on the team. It shows our tight-knit community and it’s cool that our banner is still hanging in the gym with ânational championsâ on it. “