Gators rising after being tested by quality opponents

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Submitted by Brian Williams
The Lakeview Gators have been rolling along this year with win after win. They have a record of 19 wins and two losses.

This article published in the Jan. 13, 2022, print edition

Helping them head in the right direction are two seniors, Cameron Holden and Javonte Howard. At mid-season the Gators are comparable to the Travion Kirkendol (present day Harlem Globetrotter) led Gators, that were 31-5 and State Runners-up; the Tivonte Hardy and Adrio Bailey (Arkansas University signee) led Gators that were 31-6 and State Runners-up; or even the Corey Deans (present day Captain Shreve head basketball coach) and Maurice Barnes led Gators, that were 41-0 and State Champions.
All these great teams finished with outstanding seasons and the present-day Gators hope to continue to be mentioned in the same sentence as those great teams.  
Holden, the senior point guard for the Gators, stated that playing for the Gators is a family tradition. “All my family played for the Gators, even when it was the Campti Gators. My mom, my aunts and my uncles wore the Gator name with pride and won as Gators. My brothers played and watching them motivated me to continue the family tradition. I plan on one-upping my brother and getting a ring instead of a State Runner-up,” he said.
“Cameron is a crucial part of the success of this team. Without Cameron we don’t flow as smoothly as I expect. He is a true point guard in a sense of pass first and getting all his teammates involved. This is a great attribute for a young man to have, because he often sacrifices his individual stats for the team success,” stated Coach Brian Williams.  
Howard, the senior leader for the Gators, is a pivotal piece of the winning puzzle. “I really wanted to go undefeated my senior season. I was disappointed in our losses, but we learned from them. All my life, I watched Lakeview play. My uncle played and he planted the seed for me.
“I want a ring and I want a ring badly. I want to come back years from now and see my picture on the wall of the gym. My main goal is to make my mama happy and be a positive role model to my little brother, Andre Sowell (teammate),” he said.
Javonte Howard (1) is helping the Lakeview Gators in their quest for a State championship.

“Javonte has made tremendous steps as a player and a leader on this team. Javonte is in junior high and was not allowed to shoot the ball. In high school, as a freshman, his role was to defend and defend only. Now we fast-forward to his senior year and he is the team leading scorer, returning District MVP, and All-State second teamer. What a journey for this special young man and I hope he continues to grow on and off the court,” stated Williams.  
The Gators are well past the halfway point of the season and are looking towards the play-offs early. Every game for the remainder of the season is a test to prepare the Gators for the play-offs.
The Gators hosted Peabody, Friday Jan. 7. “This game was the ultimate test to see if we are ready or not,” stated Williams. The Gators added one to the win column with a 56-54 win over Peabody.
The Gators will be tested throughout the remainder of the season with upcoming games with Red River, Jonesboro-Hodge, Many, Winnfield and Woodlawn, all contenders for a State Championship in their perspective classes. Refer to www.fearthegators.com for schedule and scheduling updates.