The Lakeview Gators began their season Saturday night, Nov. 6, with a Hall of Fame game in Mansfield. The Hall of Fame game is an event that brings four coaches together to start the season with Lakeview ties.
Captain Shreve Coach Charles Corey Deans, the legendary Lakeview point guard on its only state championship basketball team.
Airline Coach Eddie Hamilton, also a part of the coaching staff on that legendary undefeated Lakeview basketball team.
Mansfield Coach Christopher Bush, Lakeview graduate and coach as well as ties with Natchitoches Central basketball program.
Lakeview Coach Brian Williams, current coach of the Lakeview Gators.
“This is a great event for all of us to get together and motivate each other in the upcoming season,” stated Coach Brian Williams. “All four teams have been traditionally competitive and look to continue the trend this season as well.”
The season has high expectations with Lakeview returning all five starters from last year’s top 28 run. Lakeview, a traditional powerhouse in basketball, is always in the top tier of 2A basketball. Lakeview returning starters are led by their senior standout, Javonte Howard. Javonte racked up a lot of accolades last year with All district MVP, and All State honors to mention a few. Javonte is on the radar this year and has a few colleges scouting the standout guard.
Coach Williams stated, “The supporting cast has grown tremendously and worked on their game all summer. I look forward to seeing the wings, Andre Sowell and Alonzo Driver’s growth on the court. (both freshman starters last year). Our point guard and team leader has improved his basketball IQ tremendously and I look to him to be the general of this high-powered offense. Our undersized but tough big man, Dillon Pikes, brings so much grit and toughness to the game like the NBA professional Draymond Green. We have also added some depth to the bench with one of the best shooters in the state, Clifton Jones Jr., a crafty lefty, Dayton Taylor, and a big point guard, Jamarcus Reliford just to mention a few. This will be a great season and I look forward to the excitement this team will bring to the SWAMP.”
The Gators put on the pressure early and never let off the gas, leading the first quarter with a score of 26 to 15. It seemed like the pressure just came in wave after wave. The Airline guards struggled with the full court pressure. The second quarter continued the trend of full court pressure and turnover after turnover for the Airline Vikings. Lakeview racked up 36 turnovers with their pressure defense and capitalized off of every one with 37 points from Airline turnovers. The half time score was 51 to 34. The second half the bench got involved and kept the pressure up but also turned over the ball themselves. “The team is young and mistakes are expected. We have to learn to put four good quarters together and I feel we will get over the hump this year” stated coach Williams. The second half, Airline outscored the Lakeview bench 38 to 33. Lakeview concluded the game with an 86 to 73 victory.
D. Taylor 17 points, C. Jones 17 points, J. Howard 13 points
J. Howard 8 rebounds, C. Jones 7 rebounds
D. Taylor 8 steals, J. Howard 5 steals, C. Jones 3 steals
J. Howard 5 assists, D. Taylor 3 assists