Lakers keep the heat on Wells, thump Warriors 61-41

Jackson Lesure

Jackson Lesure #25

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

When a team commits six turnovers and manages just one basket in a quarter, they’re in big trouble.

Lake Region put Wells on the ropes early in last Saturday’s season opener in Naples with a tenacious full-court trapping defense and quick strike offensive attack, which led to a 33-12 lead at halftime.

Jackson Lesure scored a team-high 16 points and Nathan Smith added 12 as the Lakers blew past Wells 61-41, making Coach John Mayo a winner in his varsity debut.

“Jitters, absolutely. All day long. It’s exciting (being a head coach), but there are so many more things you need to do and think about,” Coach Mayo said. “You want to have a game plan, be ready for what they may do — you can’t just walk in and play.”

The plan was evident from the opening tip. Knowing he can dip 10 to 11 players deep on his roster, Coach Mayo unleashed an unrelenting attack that blitzed the Warriors, leaving many in red uniforms gasping for air.

Up 16-10 after a quarter, the Lakers amped up their approach at both ends of the court to surge to a decisive 17-2 run. Wells’ lone score came at the 55:10 mark. Meanwhile, the Lakers showed quick and precise passing, leading to seven hoops inside the lane.

“We’re going to pick it up and get after our opponents full court. We have a long bench and we play better fast. We have guys that can finish at the rim; they’re long and fast. If they get tired, we can bring the next guy in and we don’t drop off at all,” Lake Region Coach John Mayo said. “It’s important for us to set the tempo.”

Ryan Hodgdon

Ryan Hodgdon

Wells tried to slow down the game’s pace by walking the ball up the court, so the Lakers turned to their full-court trapping defense, which produced a handful of turnovers and quick scores.

“We were able to dictate what we wanted to do,” Coach Mayo said. “What I liked most was that we gave up just 12 points by the half. That’s pretty good defense. Once we figured out our rotations to create a tempo, we were very good,” the coach said. “I thought we did a good job adapting to their zone. Last year, we shot a bunch of threes. If you look at our shot chart, most of our shots were inside the paint. We rebounded well, especially in the second half.”

The Lakers never took their foot off the pedal. Senior Marcus DeVoe jumpstarted the offense with two layups, while Lesure was able to consistently beat his defender off the dribble to take the ball to the rim.

If their was one chink in the Lakers’ game, it was turnovers in the third quarter — seven.

“We had some turnovers that were unforced. We need to make sure we take care of that. Offensively, we need to get some better spacing,” Coach Mayo said.

Scoring certainly wasn’t a big issue as nine players figured in the final tally. The up-tempo approach bode well for several players including Brandon Palmer, who contributed seven points, scoring at key moments.

Alex Langadas #32

Alex Langadas #32

Coach Mayo felt the strong play from reserves such as Palmer, Alex Langadas and Ryan Hodgdon will be real keys this season.

“Rest is important, especially for Jack, Marcus and Nathan. They played a ton of minutes last year, and I am making a concerted effort to make sure they get breaks, which I think will make them more productive players,” Coach Mayo said. “What’s nice is that we don’t lose a ton when we substitute. We look different, but we have some very effective players. In the preseason, we really tried to get some guys who didn’t see a lot of varsity time last year some minutes so that they would be comfortable and confident when called upon. We go hard in practice, which has made them more comfortable in games.”

The Lakers were both comfortable and in total control with 3:43 left in the contest as Smith connected on a jumper to push the lead to 32.

For the Lakers (1-0): Damon Knight 1-2-4, Marcus DeVoe 4-0-8, True Meyers 1-0-2, Brandon Palmer 2-1-7, Nick Wandishin 1-0-2, Jackson Lesure 8-0-16, Ryan Hodgdon 3-0-6, Nate Smith 3-2-12, Alex Langadas 1-0-2.


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