HEBRON – Lakewood is making no secret about how it must play to win this season.
If the Lancers frequently shoot like they did Wednesday, opponents might be powerless to stop them. Lakewood made 12 3-pointers in beating visiting Berne Union 58-47 in the season opener.
“We started the first day you could in September, and we religiously got eight to 10 guys and they were getting anywhere from 500 to 700 shots up a day,” said first-year Lakewood coach Andrew Bobalik, who was the associate head coach at Wheeling Jesuit the past two seasons.
“For us to be successful, we are going to have to shoot the ball well from the outside because we are not blessed with a lot of size.”
Cameron Downs, the only returning starter from what was a senior-laden team in 2014-15, got the Lancers (1-0) off and running in the first quarter, hitting three 3s. Cameron Brooks added a two-handed dunk in transition off an outlet pass from Justin Coffey to give them an 18-6 lead.
Lakewood never led by less than six the rest of the way and always by double digits after Coffey’s 3 to open the second half. The Rockets (0-2) trailed 18-5 in a season-opening loss to Zane Trace on Friday.
“We only have four players that have any varsity experience whatsoever, but we have got to find a way from our leaders to get our team ready to play,” Berne Union coach Tracy Blevins said. “You can’t win basketball games getting down by 10 or 12 points early. In games like this, we should not be in that situation.”
Downs scored 21 points, hitting five 3s. He scored as a spot-up shooter, off the dribble and in the mid-range on pull-up jumpers.
“I wasn’t even shooting that well in warm-ups. I airballed like two shots,” Downs said. “Once you hit that first one in the game, you just feel like you can keep hitting. Keep chucking them up, I guess.”
Cole Smith, one of the Lancers’ two seniors, added 18 points, making four 3s and then going 6-of-6 from the foul line during the final two minutes.
Coffey also hit a pair of 3s as the Lancers played four-guard lineups the entire night. Brooks, a 6-foot-6 sophomore was in foul trouble for large portions, but made a big impact when on the floor with two putbacks and two blocks, finishing with eight points and nine rebounds.
“(Brooks) is 6-6 and probably 130 pounds,” Bobalik said. “He does work hard. I don’t think he realizes the potential that he possesses.”
Jordan Mosack, a 6-4 senior, had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead the Rockets, and junior Braden Little added 10 points.
Berne Union had mixed results at the offensive end. The Rockets pounded the ball inside to Mosack and 6-3 senior Joey Ricker, but they often failed to finish around the basket despite a significant size advantage.
“We have been trying to get our guys to understand we are an inside-out team first and foremost,” Blevins said. “Good things happen when post players touch the ball. (But) when you are 4-of-14 from the paint in the first half, it doesn’t really matter.”
Berne Union 6-11-11-19 — 47
Lakewood 18-8-16-16 — 58
Berne Union: 18-46 FG, 7-14 FT, 4-16 3pt. (Little 2, Tharp 1, Mathias 1) 29 rebounds (Mosack 9), 10 turnovers, 9 Assists (Mahlerwein 3). Scoring: Mahlerwein 2 0-0 4; Tharp 2 0-0 5, Mathias 2 2-2 7, Little 4 0-0 10, Ricker 3 2-3 8, Mosack 5 3-9 13
Lakewood: 19-44 FG, 8-9 FT, 12-31 3pt. (Downs 5, Smith 4, Coffey 2, Crist 1) 28 rebounds (Brooks 9), 10 turnovers, 14 Assists (Boerstler 6, Coffey 5). Scoring: Smith 4 6-6 18; Downs 8 0-0 21, Boerstler 1 0-0 2, Coffey 2 0-0 6, Brooks 3 2-3 8, Crist 1 0-0 3