Despite his illustrious coaching career, Lakeview Academy’s Seth Vining has never been able to beat Riverside Academy in two previous meetings.
Using a strong inside presence and tough defense, the Lions defeated the Eagles 50-34 on Wednesday night for their second win in a row and Vining’s 698th career victory.
The Lions (8-9, 3-1 Region 8A-AA) took control of the game early by making three of their first four 3-point attempts and outscoring Riverside (5-7, 3-3) 10-2 in the first quarter. Two of those 3-pointers came from Austin Pearson, who led the Lions with 12 points.
“I was really pleased with our defense,” Vining said. “We hit some shots early in the first half, and the combination of that and our strong defensive presence gave us a chance.”
Lakeview’s defensive intensity increased in the second quarter, as the Lions forced six turnovers that led to several easy baskets and a trio of 3-pointers. Two of those 3-pointers came from Derek Fadool, who finished with 10 points.
Despite scoring 17 points in the second quarter, the Lions shot just 33 percent from the field. The majority of those points came through the height of Austin Montgomery, Jackson Wells and Jake Kendrick, who controlled the offensive and defensive glass and provided second chance scoring opportunities.
Montgomery led the Lions with eight rebounds and five blocks, while Wells chipped in nine points and five rebounds. Kendrick finished with five points, four rebounds and one blocked shot.
“They did a good job of going inside,” Riverside coach Ron Smith said. “We knew they’d shoot well, but we didn’t expect them to control inside like they did.”
Vining also didn’t expect to have as much success inside, especially seeing how Riverside boasts two strong post players in Tarvin Dukes and Omari Archibald.
“I thought it could come down to our inside presence versus their inside presence,” Vining said. “Our guys played really well.”
Trailing 27-9 to start the third quarter, Dukes kept Riverside in the game by scoring 11 of the team’s 14 points in the quarter. But Lakeview had an answer for every Riverside run and it entered the fourth quarter with a commanding 45-23 lead.
Along with the play of his post players who accounted for six blocked shots, Vining also complimented his players’ willingness to stand in front of an oncoming player, evidenced by five charges taken by the Lions.
“Drawing charges is a big part of our defensive scheme,” Vining said. “Normally we don’t have too much size, so when we force an offensive player to the basket, our best chance at stopping them is to take a charge.”
This was the fourth game in six days for both teams and each coach admitted that fatigue played a factor in Wednesday’s game.
“We had 30 days off for Christmas and then four games and only three practices,” Smith said. “They’re tired.”
Vining said his deep bench allows him to substitute players in and out as fatigue sets in, and when there isn’t a game, it’s a good idea to give the players a time to rest. Today, in lieu of practice, the Lions will watch “Guru of Go,” the “30 for 30” documentary on Paul Westhead’s Loyola Marymount team from the mid-1980s.
“It’s a good documentary and it’s sort of like how we like to play,” Vining said. “At this point in the season, we’ll give them a day off here and there.”
Lakeview will only have one day of rest as it returns to the court at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Prince Avenue Christian. Riverside visits Athens Christian at 7:30 p.m. Friday.