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Basketball Lakewood Wilson

Basketball: Lakewood Survives Road Rematch Against Wilson

The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

In the midst of their second round of Moore League games, the Lakewood Lancers traveled to Wilson last night for a rematch in a tough road environment. Despite a late push by the Bruins, the Lancers were able to keep their composure to survive in a 64-56 road win.

“At home we won by a lot, but the Moore League is tricky,” said Lakewood coach Duane Cooper. “You can’t go on the road and get caught with your pants down. Just like in the NFL or NBA, when you play a team a lot they know your tendencies and you know theirs. (Wilson) was more comfortable in their home setting so that was to be expected, but today we were able to pull it out in the end. We went 1-0 today.”

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Both teams traded blows to open the game, as Wilson’s Karim Caldwell and Lakewood’s Adam Bermunez exchanged three pointers in the opening minutes. However, it was Lakewood who started to pull away in the first quarter, as the Lancers found seven total scorers to hold a six point advantage after the first eight minutes. The Lancers poured on another 14-points in the second quarter to lead it 37-29 heading into the break.

The eight point deficit left Wilson coach James Boykin with a few key decisions at the half to try and get his team back into the game.

“As a coach I have to figure out why we’re down double digits and we just couldn’t stop them in the first half,” said Boykin. “We gave up 37 points in that first half, that’s a lot of points especially for us to be a good defensive team. So I switched to a match-up zone in the second half and it stifled them. It got us back into the game so that was our energy spark to really throw off their rhythm with what they were doing offensively.” 

Boykin’s match-up zone coverage setup freshman Evan Mack in the center of the paint, where Mack made an immediate impact as he swatted a game-high four blocks. Mack also contributed 10-points for Wilson, alongside six-foot-five senior Hayden Rodriguez who was a complete mismatch for Lakewood in the paint. Rodriguez poured in nine points in the second half and finished the game with a team-high 17-points.

“That’s what he does especially when we have an advantage, so we made sure to get him the ball down there,” said Boykin of Rodriguez. “We got a couple of their guys in foul trouble which worked well for us. But when (Rodriguez) gets down there and has a match up he’s pretty good.”

The Bruins were able to outscore the Lancers 14-8 in the third quarter, as they trailed by just two points heading into the final eight minutes of the game.

“We weren’t doing what was asked of us,” said Cooper of Lakewood’s poor third quarter. “We were shooting the ball fast and missing shots and that allowed them to get some rebounds and extra possessions and that’s not what we want. We needed to be more poised and slow down to make them come to us while we are ahead.”

Lakewood proceeded to do just that, as the Lancers were able to grit out the fourth quarter behind star guard Keaton Lewis.

Lewis started the game slow, but seemed to only get better as the game went on. Lewis was unable to knock down shots early, and said he decided to simply put his head down and drive to the lane to draw fouls and score points in the paint. He poured in 15 of his game-high 20-points in the second half, while shooting 10/10 at the freethrow line.

“I just had to tell myself to bounce back,” said Lewis after the game. “I started just trying to drive to get some points in the paint to either get a bucket or a foul and free throws.”

Lewis was able to cap off his scoring with a pair game-sealing free throws to secure yet another Moore League win for Lakewood. Deven Smith also chipped in eight points for the Lancers alongside Kecedric Docker’s seven points.

Lakewood will face off against Compton at home on Friday, before going on the road for two huge matchups against Poly and Jordan.

Meanwhile Wilson will round out their season at Jordan on Tuesday before hosting Cabrillo next Thursday for senior night.

VIDEO: Lakewood vs Wilson Basketball
Eli Aquino
Eli Aquino is a high school student with plenty of writing and technology skills. He has a healthy knowledge and passion for sports and looks to take on journalism as a future career.