The 3rd annual Mac Braxton tournament kicked off at Lakeview on Nov. 22. The Tournament consisted of some teams from all over the area. The Boys teams were Southwood, Northwood-Lena, Atlanta, Montgomery, Lakeview, Captain Shreve, Atlanta, and Summerfield. The Girl teams were Red River, Atlanta, Summerfield, Montgomery, Lakeview, Jonesboro-Hodge, North Desoto, and Southwood.
The Tournament is a round robin format, teams are matched up and play two to three games against competitive opponents. Over the years the tournament has grown and is a great token of appreciation to the late great Coach Braxton. Coach Braxton was a mentor and great coach embedded into Lakeview basketball history.
“Every year we host this tournament so that alumni can come back and visit with old classmates,” stated Coach Brian Williams, Lakeview current coach. “To reminisce and walk these hallways again is a blessing. I feel that our students need to see the alumni and note that success comes from these halls and that basketball gym in a multitude of different fields.”
Given the amount of people in the gym it seems that Coach Williams is fulfilling his vision. The games were packed and the people kept coming every night. This was a great atmosphere with the teams playing hard and the fans cheering their hearts out.
“It is so much more than basketball,” stated Coach Williams. “We have alumni that pour into this school with their heart and soul, which shows a testament to how deep that Gator pride goes. We have alumni that give scholarships every year in the name of Coach Braxton, as well as constant donations to keep the basketball programs moving in the right direction. The most important thing that our alumni does, is show support by physically being there cheering and mentoring our kids, that is how you build a community of love.”
The Lakeview Boys did not let their fans down, they provided some exciting basketball with a combination of three victories. The Lakeview Gators open the tournament with Summerfield. Out sized as usual the Gators never flinched. They kept the pressure on and from the beginning Summerfield never stood a chance.
The speed defeated size once again with a final score of 85 to 38.
Alonzo Driver 16 points, Clifton Jones 13 points, Andre Sowell 12 points, Cameron Holden 10 points, Dayton Taylor 10 points
Clifton Jones 9 Rebounds, Dillon Pikes 9 Rebounds
Javonte Howard 5 Assists, Cameron Holden 4 Assists
The Lakeview boys faced a tall task the following night, to be precise a 6’9” tall task. Southwood, a 5A program, came to the gym with size that Lakeview does not see much. The Gators are small as is, but in this case, it was David vs. Goliath. Just like the biblical story, the outcome was the same. The Gators toppled the giant with some high-flying dunks and of course that Gator speed. The Gators forced 24 turnovers and surprisingly evened the rebounding battle 35 to 35.
“We do have to get accustomed to that size,” stated Coach Williams. “There is a team in 2A that has that size, therefore the matchup with Southwood was early preparation for a possible matchup in the playoffs. Southwood did a great job of using the size to slow us down well below our pace. A few turnovers in the 4th and dunks to get the crowd involved put us over the hump. I thought that our young men stayed the course and fought hard.”
The Gators defeated Southwood 63 to 58.
Javonte Howard 29 points, Clifton Jones 12 points
Clifton Jones 8 Rebounds, Dillon Pikes 8 Rebounds
Jamarcus Reliford 4 Assists
Alonzo Driver 3 steals, Dayton Taylor 3 steals
The Last game of the tournament was the test of all tests. Northwood-Lena Gators came into the game undefeated just like the Lakeview Gators.
These two teams have history that dates back to Jr. High days for these players. Every game for the over the years has been close and decided on mistakes, with the victories being evenly distributed. Last year was the only exception to the rule due to the foul trouble of Northwood-Lena.
The Gators, Northwood-Lena, had revenge on their mind. This has been an ongoing rival of who are the “Real Gators,” and this game was the tell all. Earlier this year in a jamboree in Northwood-Lena the two teams ended with a tie.
“No winner, no real Gators,” stated Coach Williams.
The game was everything it was hyped up to be, Northwood-Lena jumped out early, but Lakeview bounced back. Lakeview applied the pressure and overtime Northwood-Lena just could not sustain. Lakeview led from the middle of the 1st quarter until the buzzer sounded. The Lakeview depth was just too much for Northwood to handle.
“The game was good, but I feel like the officials took the excitement out of the game,” stated Coach Williams. “Northwood shooting 42 free throws, 30 plus fouls called on us, 4 starters fouling out, and all in my own gym is amazing. I’m just glad we could overcome the officiating as well as our opponent. We will get to practice and make adjustments to our obvious fouling issue, because at the end of the day we ring chasing.”