OSCODA – When the Oscoda girls basketball team saw its season ended at the hands of Charlevoix in a division three regional semi-final game on March 10, it also ended what was perhaps the best career ever for a Lady Owl. Lauren Langley, the team’s talented post player and lone senior admitted the 65-29 setback was a tough way to see her career conclude.
“It still feels like I have to go to practice tomorrow, it is going to take awhile to actually set in,” Langley said. “Charlevoix played a pretty flawless game and they had some really good players and a lot of seniors. It was hard those last couple of minutes of the fourth quarter, trying not to cry. It was sad, but there wasn’t anything that I regretted in my career.”
It should come as no surprise that she has no regrets in how her career went. After all, she graduates with 1365 career points and 878 career rebounds; both program records. Langley broke the scoring record of 1362, held by 1986 graduate Cheri Meier late in the regional loss.
“It is definitely because of a lot of hard work and hours put in the gym,” Langley, who scored 482 points her senior season alone said. “I spent a lot of spring and summer days playing travel basketball, going all over the state and even in different states just to play in tournaments and get more playing experience. I think all of that added up to help my career.
“All the hard work and sacrifices that I have made over the years have paid off,” she added. “The records definitely weren’t something that I thought about my freshman year; I was just playing basketball. I just kept working hard and ended up getting there I guess.”
Before Langley and her teammates came along, Oscoda wasn’t exactly known for strong girls basketball teams. That emphatically changed last year as a junior when the Owls won the North Star League Big Dipper and claimed the program’s first ever district title. Oscoda repeated both of those feats this winter.
“I think she was the biggest key to turning the program around,” her head coach Mark Toppi said. “Her work ethic was so good and she worked so hard in every practice that everyone had to work hard to keep up with her and that was huge for us. She started every game all four years, and to play through injuries and not have to miss a game with the flu or anything; that’s pretty good.”
Toppi particularly enjoyed watching opposing team’s futile efforts in slowing Langley down.
“She was doubled teamed or even triple teamed a lot the last few years,” he said. “The good thing about her is that she is so unselfish and she could care less if she scores a basket as long as we win. Usually good players are a little selfish and they want to get their points, but she just didn’t care.”
Of course when Langley did get the ball anywhere near the basket, good luck trying to stop her and her impossible to defend post-moves.
“Ever since I was in the fifth grade I remember my dad (David Langley) showing me how to do those post moves and that is something I have worked on every day since,” Langley said. “The moves have kind of evolved over time and I just had to learn to use them in the proper way.”
While Langley was usually the tallest player on the court, she feels that wasn’t the only reason she was such a successful rebounder.
“Part of it was because I was always tall and told to rebound hard,” said. “Rebounding is something that even if baskets aren’t going in, I can control how hard I rebound.”
With her basketball career concluding, Langley couldn’t help but reflect a bit.
“It was funny, before senior night this year instead of game film we watched my first varsity basketball game,” she said. “It was just crazy to go back and watch that because I remember that game, I remember the score and how many points I had. It’s crazy to watch that now, because how of how differently I am now; I even run differently now than I did then. It was like watching a whole different person play.”
While Langley might look like a different player than her early varsity days, the Lady Owl program as a whole is undoubtably better of because of her.
“It was just really cool to be a part of the success and to leave my mark on Oscoda athletics,” she said. “I just think that everyone on our team bought into the idea that we were a really great team and that we were capable of going undefeated in the conference and winning districts. Once everyone believe d that, there was no stopping us. We were determined and willing to do whatever it took; no matter how many sprints, no matter how many shooting practices. We just wanted to achieve our goals and that shift in mentality led to our success.”
Langley plans to attend the University of Michigan this fall, where she will study pre-med. She is a scholarship athlete for the womens rowing team.