Lakers defeat the Warriors 86-83


Photo retrieved from Twitter @LLCAthletics

Darrius Frazier, Archivist

The Lake Land men’s Basketball team, the Lakers, secured a win against the Wabash Valley College’s Warriors. The Lakers had the home advantage on Dec. 1, and beat the Warriors 86-83.

In what proved to be a thriller, the Lakers overcame their inauspicious start. In the first half they were trailing 12-0, only to rally to take a 44-41 lead at halftime. In this early season match-up between two teams in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC), the Lakers held on to an 86-83 victory over the Wabash Valley College Warriors.

The game started off well enough for the Warriors when they connected on four of their first five 3-point attempts, three by TreVon Smith and one by Tarik Dixon, to take a 12-0 lead with three minutes into the game. The Lakers first points of the game came when forward, Dailliss Cox, made two free throws to cut the Warriors lead to ten, making the score 12-2.

Lake Land’s men’s Basketball coach, Julian Larry mentioned that when the team was facing a 12-0 deficit, they “did not quit due to the practices and character development” he went over with the team during their summer practices.

After Lakers’ center, Yassin Hussein, split a pair of free throws, the Lakers scored their first basket of the evening when power forward, Amar Kuljuhovic, scored a lay-up off an assist from point guard, Everett Stubblefield, to cut the Warriors’ lead even further, to 12-5.

Eventually, Lake Land rallied to take their first lead of the game, 19-18, after an 8-0 run on a bucket by Anthony Scales following a steal from Malachi Davis. The Lakers were playing hard and took their biggest lead in the first half, 38-32, with 4:35 remaining when Leroy Walker hit a 3-pointer off an assist from Johnny Close. The Lakers went into the break with a 44-41 lead.

In the second half, the Lakers continued to lead wire-to-wire. However, they could not break the game wide open and the Warriors were in it to win it. The Lakers surged ahead to 77-66 with 7:40 remaining in the game when Laker power forward, Anthony Neal, was whistled for a technical foul for arguing an official’s call.

After the technical foul, the Warriors went on a 12-4 run to cut the Lakers’ lead to 81-78 with 4:11 remaining. Then Warriors’ head coach, Mike Carpenter, was whistled for a technical foul for arguing an official’s call. From then on, the Warriors got no closer than three points to the Lakers.

Smith led all scorers with 21 points for the Warriors, including four 3-pointers.  Jakobi Heady and Dixon are two other players for Wabash Valley College to score in double figures, scoring 16 and 15 points respectively.  Smith led the Warriors in rebounds with ten in total.

Cox led the Lakers in scoring with 20 points.  The four other Lakers who scored in double figures are: Davis with 14, Arnardo Camacho with 12 and finally Close and Walker each with 10. The Lakers who came into the game averaged twelve assists per contest during the season, and had 24 during the game.

As Coach Larry said, “it made a big difference for us during the game.”

With the victory, the Lakers snapped a brief two game losing streak to even their  record at 4-4 on the season.  On the other hand, the Wabash Valley Warriors had their four game winning streak snapped and fell to 5-2 on the season.

Coach Larry is in his second season as head coach and his 14th season as a collegiate coach. He previously served 4 years as assistant coach for the Lakers under Coach Brandon Colvin. Coach Larry’s main focus is player development on and off the court, as well as in the classroom and life.

After their rough start, Coach Larry emphasised, “The team got back into the game using defense, rebounding and short, crisper passes to the open man.”

Coach Larry is helping them learn about the challenges that they will face later down the road in life as this game as well as many other games are a microcosm of adversity and character development.

He also reflected on some of their past practices, “The team learned about character development in the face of adversity.”

The next meeting between the two teams will be on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022 at Mount Carmel, Ill.  The Lakers’ next home game at the Laker Fieldhouse will be Wednesday, Dec. 15 as they will host Vincennes University Trail Blazers.

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