By Marco Clark, exclusive to the Times
The Lakeview Gators stayed busy after the Thanksgiving break competing in basketball tournaments with hopes of staying sharp for the rigorous district play soon approaching. The first tournament was the Northwood Invitational. The ironic thing about this tournament was that Lakeview came in as the smallest classification team to participate and head coach Brian Williams would have it no other way.
“When our players have an opportunity to play bigger quality classification schools that type of competition allows our players to gain valuable experience that will carry us further into the season and into the playoffs,” Williams said.
Yes, that larger 3A to 5A team will usually have better depth to complement their bench. This helps Lakeview during the latter part of their playoffs as the competition gets more fierce. The first game pitted them against host team Northwood. Lakeview came out early firing mid-range high percentage shots to take an early lead during the first 5 minutes of the game.
Northwood called a timeout to regroup which served them well. They stretched the Gators defense to the perimeter leaving the lane open for easy conversions. Northwood had a 6 point lead at the end of the first half, 34-26.12-11 Lakeview boys tournament play at Northwood & Parkway
This lead would not last long. Williams made half-time adjustments switching from a man-to-man defense to zone at half-court. The Gators sudden switch on defense caused confusion to Northwood’s offense in the low post forcing the ball out of the lane.
That high percentage shot that was once Northwood’s bread and butter in the lane was now forced outside where Northwood struggled to score a single basket on four consecutive possessions. Those missed baskets for Northwood paid dividends for Lakeview as the Gators scored on the opposite end. They took the lead and never looked back claiming a 61-55 victory. Leading scorers for the Gators were Zarious Lewis with 33 points, Ty Washington with 10 and Christopher Small with seven.
With the win over Northwood, the Gators would face Calvary next with the winner of that game playing in the finals.