OAKWOOD -- Johnson continued its strong start to the season with a 61-58 win over Lakeview Academy Tuesday in boys basketball action.
It's the first 4-0 start to a season for the Knights since 2007 and coach Jeff Steele said his current group is ready to put Johnson basketball back on the map after missing the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
"We're playing as a team more so than in the past," Steele said. "We have a point guard that thinks like I do out there and we have five guys that can score that the other team has to guard."
Johnson got 18 points and 12 rebounds from Montrell McKenzie and 15 points from Carter Cagle, including two 3-pointers, and hit four free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the game.
"Montrell had a good couple of quarters but he could have had more if not for some silly fouls," Steele said. "He can get better and that's what we're hoping for. We have to play smarter at the end of games, though."
It was the Knights defense that was the difference. Johnson forced 23 Lakeview turnovers for the game and held the Lions (0-2) scoreless over a three minute stretch in the fourth quarter to build a nine-point lead, 53-44.
But Lakeview forced three Johnson turnovers in a 1:19 span and then held the Knights without a basket over the final 3:30 to pull within 56-54 on a Austin Montgomery basket with 21 seconds left. Johnson would hit 8-of-13 free throws in the final 2:13 to hang on for the win.
Montgomery had a huge game to lead Lakeview with 30 points and 10 rebounds and scored 10 of the Lions final 12 points. Joel Larsen added 10 points for the Lions.
Johnson was in control early in the third quarter using a 6-0 run to start the second half to run out to a 37-28 lead. But McKenzie picked up his fourth foul with 5:35 left in the third quarter and Lakeview took advantage.
The Lions finished the quarter with a 10-3 run and pulled within 42-40 just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter without McKenzie on the floor. But they could get no closer.
In the first half both teams traded runs. Lakeview used a 5-0 run in a 45 second span to take a 7-2 lead on five consecutive points by Larsen but Johnson answered with a 7-0 spurt to take its first lead at 9-7 on a Cagle 3-pointer.
The Lions responded with a 6-0 run to retake the lead and took a 15-14 lead after the first quarter. Johnson would come out hot to start the second quarter using a 7-2 run behind six points from McKenzie for a 21-17 lead.
McKenzie dominated the second quarter for the Knights with 12 points and five rebounds to help give them a 31-28 lead at halftime. But McKenzie ended the half with three fouls and sat out the final 1:12 of the first half.
LAKEVIEW GIRLS 65
Lakeview Academy had 11 players score and never trailed in improving to 2-1 on the season.
The Lady Lions opened with a 15-7 first quarter and then used a 23-8 second quarter to blow the game open. Junior Taylor Handte led the way for Lakeview with all of her team-high 14 points in the first half.
Lakeview extended its lead in the third quarter to 48-22 and outscored Johnson 17-10 in the final period to put the game out of reach.
Schyler Miller and Katie White each had 11 points for Lakeview.
Ariel Collins and Sarah Williams led Johnson (0-4) with nine points apiece. Collins scored all of her points on three 3-pointers. Brittany Green had six points for the Lady Knights.