GAINESVILLE — Gone are Josh Randolph and Tre Gober from the most successful Lakeview Academy boys team in history. So far, that doesn’t appear to be stopping a new-look Lions team in the 2017-18 campaign.
After a dominating 80-54 win over Hebron Christian Tuesday night at the Lakeview gym, the Lions have picked up in Region 8-A where they left off last season.
The victory moved Lakeview to 6-5 overall, but more importantly the Lions are a perfect 3-0 in region play in the early going. Hebron, along with Prince Avenue, were considered Lakeview’s top preseason challengers to the region title. The Lions will play host to the Wolverines on Saturday in an early battle for first place.
Even more impressively, Lakeview managed the lopsided win without its best player in Drew Cottrell, who has now missed the last three games with a troublesome back injury.
“We’re disappointed not to be able to have one of the better players in our area on the floor,” Lakeview coach Todd Cottrell said. “But the guys have responded well and are really starting to play together.”
Lakeview dropped its last two games in the Lanierland tournament last week without Cottrell and with the meat of the region schedule beginning on Tuesday, it was imperative that the Lions find, or alter, their approach.
Mission accomplished against Hebron (3-11, 3-2).
“We’re having to look inside a little more than we have,” Cottrell said. “We have some pretty good post players so we’re trying to get them a little more involved. But we still want to shoot (3-pointers) whenever we can.”
They did both against Hebron. Blake McIntyre drained a pair of 3-pointers in the early moments to give Lakeview a 6-2 lead. In fact, the Lions would sink 10-of-20 for the game, led by five from McIntyre, who also finished with a game-high 25 points to go with 8 assists. Adam Cottrell hit four 3-pointers as part of his 15 points and he added 5 assists.
On the inside Evan Pitts chipped in 10 points to go with 6 rebounds and Noah Linder, Palmer Ferguson, Bryce Blackwell, and Arturo Varela all had at least one basket inside.
Defensively, the Lions produced one of their better games of the season forcing 28 Hebron turnovers, nearly half coming on offensive fouls.
“I would like for us to get a little better on the defensive end but I thought tonight was a good start of where I think we can get,” Cottrell said.
McIntyre’s two early treys helped ignite a 15-5 run to open the game as Lakeview never trailed. The Lions pushed the lead to 23-11 by the end of the first quarter.
Hebron, behind a 3-pointer from Zach Calvert, pulled within 25-14 early in the second quarter but that would be as close as they could get. Lakeview exploded for a 19-7 run to close out the half for a commanding 44-23 lead. The Lions led by more than two dozen, 54-29, on a Cottrell 3-pointer midway through the third quarter, and maintained that lead until the end.
Of the 12 players that got in the game for Lakeview, 10 scored. After a pair of more than 20 turnover games in the final two games of Lanierland, Lakeview had just 14 turnovers against Hebron.
“Taking care of the ball is something we have to do a better job of and I thought we were much better with that tonight,” Cottrell said.
Alex Calvert led Hebron with 15 points.
LAKEVIEW ACADEMY GIRLS 59,
HEBRON CHRISTIAN 29
The Lady Lions opened the game with a 17-4 run and used a 19-4 fourth quarter spurt to put the game out of reach en route to the Region 8-A victory.
The win pushed Lakeview (7-6, 3-0 Region 8-A) into a first place tie with George Walton. The Lady Lions have won 4 of their last 6 games overall.
Lakeview held its biggest lead of the first half at 25-6 early in the second quarter on a Maddie Towles 3-pointer and took a 29-14 advantage in halftime.
Hebron battled back to within 29-21 on a 7-0 run to start the third quarter but Lakeview closed out the period on a 9-3 run for a 38-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Lady Lions put the game away with a 19-4 run to open the final period and a Sadie Thrailkill field goal gave them their largest lead of the game at 59-29.
Thrailkill finished with 18 points to lead Lakeview. Savannah Kinsey added 11 points and Towles 10 for the Lady Lions.
Brooklyn Fugel paced Hebron (2-11, 0-4). It was the sixth straight loss for Hebron.