The Lakeview Academy basketball team went up early Friday evening against Riverside Military Academy and never looked back.
The Lions poured in eight 3-pointers in the first half to go up by double-digits at halftime and never trailed the rest of the way in a 67-57 win over the Eagles.
“We’re a pretty good shooting team, and it’s always easier when you’re playing from ahead,” Lakeview Academy coach Todd Cottrell said after the game. “Our guys found the open guy and they made the shot today. That was a big win for us.”
The Lions (8-15, 3-5 Region 8-A) got their first trey from Conley Millwood about two minutes into the opening quarter, a shot that gave Lakeview Academy its first lead of the night at 5-4. That basket set off a quick 11-0 run from the Lions that included another 3 from Millwood as well as one from Holden Cooper and put Lakeview Academy on top by 9.
Riverside Military would go on to score the final 4 points of the period, but still trailed eight minutes into the game.
The Lions started off the second quarter with a pair of quick, back-to-back corner 3s from Roman Yaskulka, and got another from Cooper about two minutes into the frame to go up by double digits for the first time on the night.
The Eagles (8-11, 4-4) climbed back a little bit with a 6-0 run in the later portion of the frame, but another pair of 3s — this time from Millwood and Jones Harris — put Lakeview Academy back up by 11 going into the halftime break.
The Lions kept the momentum going early in the third quarter, getting a personal 7-0 run from Declan Weidner after he knocked down two quick treys and was fouled on the second, and Lakeview Academy jumped on top by 15 points.
Riverside Military made a couple of runs down the stretch, scoring 6 straight at one point in the third frame and 8 straight through the middle of the fourth, but the Lions always had an answer to keep the comeback attempts at bay.
Lakeview Academy finished things off by hitting on 9 of 12 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to keep the game out of reach for good.
After a season filled with injuries and narrow losses, Cottrell said he hopes Friday’s win will springboard Lakeview Academy into postseason success
With region tournaments little more than a week away, Cottrell believes the Lions are hitting their stride at the right time.
“Our league is really good and it’s really balanced this year, but we’re close,” he said. “These guys are champions. They know what it takes and they’re starting to play a little better.”