GAINESVILLE -- The Lakeview Academy boys basketball team was already depleted with the loss of two key players to injury and sickness. Add to that a near-flawless performance by Providence Christian and it was easy to see why Lions coach Seth Vining said to ignore the records in the two teams' key Region 8-A matchup Tuesday night.
The Storm shot 52 percent and used a 15-0 first quarter run to grab the lead and then held on in the fourth quarter for a 72-65 win at the Lakeview gym.
Lakeview (12-6, 7-2 Region 8A-A) was playing without Ted Reynolds (mono) and Trevor Price (ankle) and wore down in the second half with a short bench. The Lions led just just once at 2-0 and fell behind quickly when the Storm (6-10, 4-2 Region 8B-A) broke a 7-7 tie with 15 unanswered points. Providence shot nearly 80 percent from the field in the first quarter.
"Providence executed very well," Vining said. "They were the better team tonight. We had no answer for them at times. That's a good team no matter the record."
It is unknown when either Reynolds or Price will return as the Lions head into a key stretch of region games.
"Anytime you're playing without your full team it's a disadvantage," Vining said. "Those guys have been with us since they were freshmen but we have other guys that should be able to step up. But they are two big players for us."
Lakeview would go on a 15-6 run in the second quarter to pull within 30-24 but could get no closer. Providence closed out the first half with a 12-6 run for a 42-30 lead and then broke the game open in the third and fourth quarters with a 15-10 burst for a 64-49 lead.
Lakeview made one last push trimming the lead to 69-61 with 1:12 left in the game. But the Storm hit eight free throws in the final minute to hold off the Lions. Caleb Faulkner hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.
"Our guys battled to the end. I was proud of that. But it was too little, too late to catch them," Vining said.
Without a consistent outside threat the Storm clamped down on Lakeview senior center Austin Montgomery with two and three defenders most of the game. Montgomery worked hard for his game-high 30 points.
Faulkner finished with 11 points and Zach Montgomery added 10 for Lakeview.
The Lions had trouble with the Storm's motion offense the entire game. Providence hit five 3-pointers for the game but it was a string of seven straight layups in the first quarter that opened things up as they worked a form of the weave offense to perfection.
Connor Jones had 19 points to lead Providence. Charlie Scott added 17 and Robbie Clark had 12 for the Storm.
It doesn't get any easier for Lakeview, which will travel to Athens Christian (14-1, 7-0 Region 8-A) on Friday in another key region contest.