By Marco Clark, exclusive to the Times
The Lakeview Gators took to the road Tuesday night to face their district rival Many Tigers in what would be a statement game. The Gators looked to dominate from the opening whistle until the final buzzer. This game and this game alone would set the tone, as well as send a message to the rest of the teams in the district that they are a force with which to be reckoned.
The Tigers fought toe to toe with the Gators in the first, but the Gators still outscored Many 15-12. Much of that came from Ty Washington. Washington went 6 for 8 scoring 9 points, 4 of those from the charity stripe. Mike Shields added 4 while Zarious Lewis went one for one with four assists. The start of the second quarter was better for the Gators as Lewis rained in a three-pointer from the top of the key to spark the Gator fans. The Tigers inbounded the ball, but a bad pass attempt across mid-court resulted in a turnover. Nate Braden inbounded to Christopher Small who found Washington on the wing. He pulls up for the open three and hits his mark to give Lakeview a 21-12 lead.
The Gators continued to play a suffocating defense which forced three turnovers for the Tigers. Each was turned into points that extended their lead by 8 points going into halftime, 32-24.
Coming out of the locker room, the Gators looked like a team on a mission. Lakeview passes were precise, screens were set better, offensive rebounding increased and the Gators spread the floor better allowing the guards to penetrate down the lane for easier lay-ups. This pick-up of play matched the Gators intensity on defense, thereby stretching the lead to 55-34.
At the start of fourth, Lakeview head coach Brian Williams made substitutions allowing his younger players to floor time. This move paid dividends. Players coming off the sidelines continued to employ a stringent defense that forced two more turnovers that translated into points, and the 72-43 victory.
Lewis led scoring with 15 points, Washington scored 14 and Udions Jones contributed 12.