For Lakeview Academy basketball coach Seth Vining, getting his players on the court and playing was what was most important on Friday.
After six days between games, including a midweek game against Riverside Military canceled Tuesday due to the snowstorm, Vining had his Lions (6-8, 2-1 Region 8A-A) all on the court for the first time since last Saturday, which resulted in a 50-37 win against Athens Academy in Gainesville.
“The first time our players were able to get on the court this week was Wednesday, and that was just the kids who could get here,” Vining said. “We’ve all been in the same boat here in Northeast Georgia this week with the weather, except for a school like Riverside where they live on campus.”
In the girls’ game, Class A’s No. 9-ranked Athens Academy won 35-33 on a pair of free throws with only a second left on the game clock.
The Lions’ boys didn’t lose their defensive touch with an extended stretch between games. Even though Lakeview didn’t shoot well from outside, they got enough baskets in the paint thanks in part to a 10-3 scoring run in the second period to earn the win.
Trailing 19-18 early in the second quarter, Austin Pearson hit a banked in a shot, which was followed by Jake Kendrick’s jump shot off an assist from Derek Fadool that gave Lakeview a 26-19 lead with only 1:12 left in the first half.
According to Vining, at this point, the Lions are just focused on fine-tuning the positives, while addressing the areas that still need improvement. One area that Vining stressed was a positive he could take away was solid defense against Athens Academy. It didn’t hurt that the Spartans (8-6) only hit 9 of 24 free throw attempts.
Lakeview Academy also did a solid job creating scoring opportunities, according to Vining. One of those was Austin Montgomery’s basket inside with 2:45 left to play in the third quarter for the Lions’ first double-digit lead, 32-22. Lakeview Academy also held a rebounding advantage, led by Trevor Price’s eight rebounds to go with six points.
Austin Pearson and Askounis led the Lions in scoring with eight points each.
Kaupe Booze scored a game-high 14 for the Spartans, followed by Mark Sanders with 11.
Lakeview Academy visits George Walton Academy at 4:30 today. The Lions will host Riverside at 7 p.m. on Wednesday to make-up last week’s game.
ATHENS ACADEMY 35, LAKEVIEW ACADEMY 33: Tied 33-33 with only 1.2 seconds left to play, Athens Academy coach Kevin Petroski and Lakeview coach John Carrick were locked in a battle of strategy.
With the score tied, Lady Spartans guard Dynelle Todman went to the free throw line for two shots, but Carrick had two time outs he was about to use.
As Todman toed the free throw line for her first shot, Carrick called his first time out to try and make her lose her focus.
Carrick called Lakeview’s final time out as Todman went back to the free throw line after the time out, causing another pause in play.
“That’s the only thing we could do at that point was use the time outs,” Carrick said.
Petroski’s strategy came into play after Todman hit the first free throw to take a 34-33 lead for the Lady Spartans. On the second free throw, Petroski asked Todman (18 points) to intentionally miss the free throw, but the shot still went in after hitting hard off the backboard.
On the inbound and trailing 35-33, Lakeview Academy got the ball to midcourt, but failed to get off a shot before time expired.
Still, Carrick took a good feeling away from the game knowing the Lady Lions hung with an Athens Academy program ranked in the Class A Top 10.
“We’re starting to eliminate some of the mistakes and starting to play smarter too,” Carrick said.
Taylor Handte, a sophomore, scored a game-high 23 points and hit four 3-pointers for Lakeview. In the first half, Handte scored 12 points, including a pair of 3’s as part of a 6-0 run to take a 17-16 lead into halftime.
Trailing 33-30, Handte nailed her final 3-pointer to tie the game at 33-all with 1:00 left to play. With only 8 seconds remaining, Lakeview Academy had possession until Athens Academy’s Caroline Colby came away with a steal, which led to Todman’s trip to the free throw line.
Lakeview Academy visits George Walton Academy at 3 p.m. today in Monroe.