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Lions roar into state tourney
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ATHENS — The Lakeview Academy boys basketball team didn’t want to leave anything to chance in the opening round of the Region 8-A tournament, especially with a state playoff berth hanging in the balance.

A 19-1 run in the first quarter against Towns County on Thursday helped ease any concerns that the Lions (15-9) had on their way to a 72-50 win in the quarterfinals of the Region 8-A tournament at Athens Academy.

“It was great that we were able to come out there and take care of business,” Lakeview coach Seth Vining said. “We created the tempo for the game that we wanted.”

With only eight teams in the region field, one win was all it took for Lakeview to punch its ticket to the state tournament.

Of course, as nice as the first round win in the tournament was, the next one is almost just as important.

With a win in Saturday’s region semifinals against today’s Hebron Christian/Athens Christian winner, the Lions would open the Class A state playoffs at home again, just like in 2009.

“We want the next game real bad,” said Lakeview senior Daniel Olvera, who finished tied for a team high with 12 points and three assists against Towns County.

Against Towns County, the Lions took control of the game as soon as Ross Biegler came through with a steal and dunk to put Lakeview in front 7-3 early in the first period. During the first half, the Lions controlled the game with offensive rebounding, defensive pressure and seven 3-pointers.

For the game, 11 different players scored for Lakeview Academy.

“If we have that many score, it’s a sign of a good night’s work,” Vining added.

The first of the Lions’ 3-pointers came from Tom Drury — after three offensive rebounds — to take the lead up to 10-3. Austin Pearson hit two 3-pointers for Lakeview in the final minute of the first half to take a comfortable 50-14 lead into halftime.

“We felt good out there tonight,” Olvera added. “We were focused and shot the ball well.”

Olvera, Matt Askounis and Trevor Price also had 3-pointers in the first half for Lakeview. Jackson Wells (12 points) and Pearson (10) were also in double digits scoring for the Lions.

Lakeview Academy held Towns County to only seven points in each of the first two quarters.

John Bleckley (14), Ethan Burch (12), Bradley Swanson (11) and D.J. Rogers (10) were all in double digits scoring for the Indians.

With the loss, Towns County’s season is now finished.
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