Lakeview is being battle tested early in the season. Lakeview started the week off with the #1 ranked team in 3A, Lake Charles College Prep (LCCP). Tuesday evening, it went down in the swamp with an expected close game. LCCP came out and punched the Gators in the mouth with a first quarter lead, 10 to 6. LCCP also began the first quarter with some fireworks, a dunk. The dunk hyped up the LCCP Trailblazers, but awoken a sleeping giant metaphorically speaking. The Lakeview Gators matched energy and took the lead by the end of the second quarter, 20 to 18. After halftime, Lakeview came out with a different look, a different walk, and a different defense. Lakeview exploded in the third quarter with their stifling full court defense. Lakeview outscored the #1 team in 3A, 25 to 12 and gathered a comfortable lead. The Trailblazers could never overcome the third quarter and lost the game, 59 to 48.
Cliff Jones Jr. 18 points, Javonte Howard 15 points, Andre Sowell 13 points
Cliff Jones Jr. 14 Rebounds, Alonzo Driver 7 Rebounds, Javonte Howard 7 Rebounds
Alonzo Driver 3 Steals, Cliff Jones Jr. 2 Steals, Jamarcus Reliford 2 steals
Lakeview had a day off and back to the business as they travelled to Atlanta High School. Atlanta has as rich as a tradition in basketball as the Gators. Atlanta is a small town that lives, eats, and sleeps basketball. To walk in this gym is like taking a trip back in time. The gym and the fans give you an old school feeling as if you are in the movie, “Hoosiers.” Just like the movie, winning in Atlanta is a tall task. Lakeview started off as usual with a fast-paced game and a lead at the half of 37 to 29. Atlanta dug deep and stated that if Lakeview was to win, it was going to be a dog fight. Considering their mascot to be a bulldog, the second half was just that. Atlanta turned up the intensity and the fans were all the motivation they needed. Atlanta was able to pressure the Gators causing 25 turnovers, a Lakeview season high. Atlanta was able to outscore the Gators in the second half, 34 to 28. The game was all but over with less than a minute in the game, with Atlanta leading by 4 points, the possession of the ball, and Lakeview’s Javonte Howard fouling out. Lakeview rallied and was able to get a stop and a score to bring it within two points. Atlanta then contributed to the Lakeview comeback by turning over the ball on the inbounds after the made basket. Lakeview used the opportunity of the momentum swing and executed a beautiful baseline inbounds to Dillon pikes for an easy lay-up and score. With the game tied and the momentum changed the Gators turned up their press and caused a turnover with seconds left on the clock. Alonzo Driver benefited from the turnover with a fast break lay-up with an Atlanta defender pursuing fast. Alonzo kept his composure and scored off a beautiful lay-up as he fell to the ground to take the lead. From this point on Lakeview just stayed solid and caused one final turnover with a steal by Cameron Holden to seal the game, 65 to 63. Gators win!!!
Javonte Howard 26 points, Jamarcus Reliford 14 points
Cliff Jones 14 rebounds, Dillon Pikes 6 rebounds
Cameron Holden 5 steals, Javonte Howard 4 steals
The final test for the long week Lakeview experienced was the 5A Benton Tigers. Benton has a legendary coach, Todd Martinez. The game plan was simple, and a blind man could see it, slow down the Gators. Benton was able to limit Lakeview to 4 transition points. The fact that Lakeview was short handed was also a contributing factor to slowing down the game. Lakeview was missing three major contributors for several reasons. “Next man up is our motto, and today we will live by it,” stated Coach Williams. The game was slow and more of a chess match than a basketball game. Both coaches battled with adjustments and play calling. “We had to go deep into our playbook. We ran sets that we haven’t ran all year. This is a credit to how well the Gators are coached,” stated Coach Martinez of the Benton Tigers. “This game came down to mistakes and execution. I am sweating as if I was playing the game. I love when a coach can keep you on your toes. I commend my players for listening and executing, because so many feel that we can only play one way. That’s obviously not true,” stated Coach Williams. Lakeview scored its season low in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters. At the end of regulation, the game was tied. Lakeview shot a horrible 20% from the free throw line and just could not seal the deal. Going into overtime, it was very simple, who can execute? The overtime period showed no different than the entire game, low scoring. Lakeview outscored the Benton Tigers in overtime and exciting 3 to 2, winning the game.
Andre Sowell 14 points, Alonzo Driver 9 points
Javonte Howard 7 Rebounds, Cameron Holden 4 Rebounds, Andre Sowell 4 Rebounds
Andre Sowell 3 steals, Dillon Pikes 3 Steals