Gators down to the wire as they fall to Peabody 54-50

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The next game up for the surprising season of the Lakeview Gators was the hardest they have faced all year. On Friday, Jan. 8, the boys took on the legend Charles Smith and the Peabody Warhorses. Smith, as head coach for the Warhorses for his 35th season, has over 1,000 career wins on his resume, as well as the seventh most wins in high school basketball history.

Last year, Peabody was the only team to beat Lakeview by more than 30, and won the 4A State Championship. Ranked fourth right now, this is definitely the biggest task the young gators have faced all season and it sure did come down to the wire.

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Peabody’s star player began the game with a ferocious dunk, and they followed it with four more points, 6-0. But Lakeview was not scared. Lonzo Driver got inside and got a second chance point to get Lakeview on the board. Peabody got two of four free throws to fall over the next two possessions. After that, C.J Jones got inside for his first layup, followed by a Peabody three. Jones finished off the first quarter with four straight points for Lakeview with Peabody leading 11-8 after one.

The second quarter started with a make one, miss one from the line for the Warhorses. Then Javonte Howard, who had a terrific game, got his first three to fall. Andre Sowell powered inside on the next possession for an easy two off an offensive board. Peabody knocked down a midrange and a free throw before Howard had another three go down. Peabody then went on an 8-0 run to take another lead. It barely fazed the Gators though. Cameron Holden got in the paint for a layup, quickly followed by Howard knocking down his third three of the half close to the buzzer. It was 21-23 at the half.

The third quarter was the most exciting. It started off with Howard going up and in on the Warhorse defense, followed by a fast break bucket by Peabody. Then Driver got a corner three to fall, followed by a three from Mike Shields, giving Lakeview its first two possession lead of the game. The Warhorses got some second chance points to fall, followed by a free throw and another fast break. Just as Peabody got it down to one point, Shields threw up another three to push back the lead.

Peabody scored four consecutive to tie it back up. Howard drove inside for a tough two. Peabody then knocked down a three, followed by their star player again getting the open room and throwing down a windmill dunk. Andre Sowell got a corner three to fall with just a few seconds left in the quarter, to close the Peabody lead to 39-37. Peabody continued to get second chance points to fall, as they got an easy two to start the fourth. Driver got inside for a layup on the next possession followed by a three from Peabody. Lakeview’s next play had Holden at the top of the key, wide open. He threw it up and knocked it down to make it a one possession game. Peabody got a couple of free throws but Lakeview turned it on after that.

Howard knocked down another three to make it a one point game with just a couple minutes left. Then Sowell was fouled on a layup that counted followed by a point from the charity stripe to give the Gators a two point lead. Peabody got another dunk, but Sowell was fouled once again. Points good, but he was unable to convert a free throw. Down two, Peabody got a fast break score, but then it was anybody’s game. Peabody hit a three with just over a minute left, and that was all she wrote. Jones got a couple from deep, but couldn’t get them to fall in that final minute. Peabody sunk another free throw before the clock hit zero, and walked away the winners, 54-50.

This is Lakeview’s fourth loss of the year, and definitely the one that means the most.