Austin Montgomery posted up on his defender by the basket, took an inbounds pass, dribbled once and laid the ball off the glass for the game’s first two points.
It wasn’t flashy, but it was a sign of things to come as the Lakeview Academy Lions methodically imposed their will against Riverside Military on Friday at home, jumping out to a 9-0 lead and pulling away for an 83-64 win.
The win gave the Lions a five-game winning streak to close the regular season on Senior Night.
The Lions (21-4, 13-1 Region 8A-A) dropped 34 points in the first quarter alone en route to the big victory. They led by 19 at the end of the quarter, then extended the lead to 22 at the half.
Lions coach Seth Vining said he was happy with the team’s fast start in the game.
“That quarter was one of the better quarters we’ve played all year,” he said. “I thought we took advantage of a lot of opportunities early, and our defense was good.”
Montgomery, who scored 10 of those 34 first-quarter points to set the tone, was a force in the paint and finished with 19 points in the game.
Lakeview went to the junior, who was setting up on the low block, often early in the game, leaving the Eagles with few answers.
“I thought he took the ball to the basket well tonight,” Vining said. “We missed some opportunities later on, but overall I thought it was a good effort.”
The methodical play of the first half gave way to an exciting finish for the Lions.
The Eagles began chipping away at the Lakeview lead late in the fourth quarter. Riverside’s Trevor Price converted a 3-point play late after a slick drive to the basket.
Dribbling down the baseline, Price was bumped by a Lakeview defender and tossed the ball over his head from beneath the basket, kissing it off the backboard and in. He added a free throw to cut the Lakeview lead to 19.
Adrian Humphrey added another 3-point play less than a minute later to make it a 78-64 game.
But Lakeview’s Joel Larsen put his stamp on the game with a minute left. Driving to his right, Larsen rose above the Riverside defenders in the lane and put a one-handed dunk through the basket, drawing the crowd to its feet in approval.
According to Vining, it was Larsen’s first dunk in a game.
“The team was really excited about that,” he said. “And it was a good, hard drive too. It’s always fun when you can do something like that in a game.”
Larsen finished with 16 points in the game, the majority of which came in the second half when Montgomery began to get more attention from the Riverside defenders.
Lakeview’s Derek Fadool added 13 points to help the cause.
Despite the loss, Riverside got a strong effort from Humphrey, who finished with 20 points, 11 of which came in the second quarter.
Lakeview plays next in the region tournament on Tuesday against the winner of the Tallulah Falls, George Walton first-round matchup on Monday.
LAKEVIEW GIRLS 78, OGLETHORPE COUNTY 36: The Lady Lions scored three seconds into the game when Kelsey Gilbert took the tip and dribbled all the way to the basket for an easy lay in.
They cruised from there, opening a 45-14 lead at the half, and finishing with a 42-point win over Oglethorpe on Senior Night on Friday in Gainesville. They led by as many as 43 points in the game.
The Lions (15-8, 9-4) were led by Taylor Handte, who scored 14 points in the game. Katie White added 10, and four players finished with eight.
“We’re used to being on the other end of games like this last year,” Lakeview coach John Carrick said after the game. “We still are sometimes. But this was probably the best we’ve shot the ball all year long. It was a real joy to watch.”
Carrick added that one of the most important benefits of strong performances like Friday’s is the ability to get more players in the game.
“I just love it because everybody gets to play,” he said.
The Lady Lions play again at 3:30 p.m. today at Rabun Gap.