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Lions avenge loss to Commerce
Austin Pearson dribbles up court past Commerce's Tyler Gamble. - photo by Tom Reed

What a difference nine days makes.

After losing to Commerce by 33 points on Feb. 2, the Lakeview Academy boys picked up a critical region win Thursday by defeating the Tigers 60-48 and securing a tie for first place in Region 8-A.

“This was a big win for us,” Lakeview coach Seth Vining said. “Hopefully, we’re going to continue to work and keep it going in the region tournament.”

The Lions’ seed for the region tournament will be determined following tonight’s games, which include a battle between Commerce and fellow first-place team Athens Christian. Depending on the outcome of that contest, Lakeview’s seeding will more than likely be determined by a tiebreaker scenario. According to Vining, the Lions (14-9, 13-3 Region 8-A) will be seeded no lower than second when the region bracket comes out Sunday.

Securing a top-two seed was what made Thursday’s contest with Commerce (17-7, 12-3) so crucial, and the Lions proved that in the opening half.

The Lions closed out the first quarter with an Austin Pearson 3-pointer, who nailed another 3 from the corner to open the second quarter and give Lakeview a six-point lead. Pearson’s second 3 opened the flood gates, and the Lions went on a 14-0 run to start the second quarter and made their first 10 shots of the period.

“When we’re hot, we’re hot,” said Lakeview senior Daniel Olvera, who scored 12 points and said that the 33-point loss to

Commerce played an integral role in the Lions’ great start.

“It was a big motivator,” Olvera said. “We focused all week and this was a team we wanted to beat.”

That was evident through the Lions’ stifling defense and propensity to getting a high-percentage shot. Lakeview made 24 of its 44 attempts Thursday and held Commerce to just 25-percent shooting.

“Putting the ball in the net was the big difference,” Vining said of how his team was able to avenge the blowout loss. “When our team shoots the ball well we have a chance to be a good team.”

Commerce found that out in the second quarter when the Lions made 11 of their 12 attempts from the field and got seven points each from Pearson and Olvera.

Lakeview built its lead to 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter and the Tigers got no closer than 12 points in the second half.
Commerce was led by Tyler Gamble, who made five 3-pointers and scored 15 points. Greg Hayes scored seven points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Tigers.

Jordan Chastain scored 11 points and Matt Askounis had 10 points and four assists for Lakeview.

LAKEVIEW ACADEMY GIRLS 51, COMMERCE 34: Maddie Haymore hit five 3-pointers en route to a 24-point game for the Lady Lions on Thursday in Gainesville.

Megan Rochester and Jamie Nixon each scored 10 points for Lakeview (12-12, 7-9 Region 8-A).

Jazz Grier scored 17 points for Commerce (2-20, 1-13).

Commerce visits Athens Christian at 7 tonight.