Back on the winning trail
Eagles boys rebound from St. Charles loss with win over Lackey
Through the first month of the season, the Lackey High School boys basketball team had emerged as one of the budding threats to unseat North Point as the top squad in Charles County.
Friday evening, the Eagles proved they were not quite yet willing to relinquish the throne to the Chargers as they toppled the Chargers, 82-73, in Indian Head in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Potomac Division contest.
North Point (4-6, 1-1 SMAC Chesa- peake) owned a 43-36 lead at the intermission, but Lackey opened the third quarter on a 10-0 run that ignited the home crowd and perhaps signified the Chargers’ readiness to take control of the contest. But the Eagles immediately responded with a 10-2 run of its own and took a 60-53 lead into the fourth quarter.
“They came out strong to start the second half,” North Point sophomore Malik Lawrence said. “We knew we had to just go back and run our plays and get back on defense. We were able to get the lead back right away. This was a big win for us. We had a long talk at practice [on Thursday] and we knew we had to come in here and stay focused.”
North Point promptly opened the fourth with a bucket from Jonathan Wallace and two free throws from Micah Campbell to forge a 64-53 lead with just less than seven minutes remaining. But the Chargers (8-2, 1-1) gradually chipped away at the Eagles lead and got to within 69-63 on a layup by Vincent Parker and a three-point field goal from Hakeem Everett with 2 minutes 55 seconds remaining.
“Really the difference tonight was we did not rebound well and we gave up too many points in transition,” said Lackey head coach Sean Fox, whose team is scheduled to travel to La Plata for a 6:30 p.m. Wednesday tip-off. “We missed a
lot of shots from the perimeter. I don’t think we settled for too many shots. I would never discourage the guys from shoot- ing. We just didn’t make them and then we gave up too many second chance baskets.”
North Point senior Jalen Gibbs had 19 points and finished with a game-high 32, a number slightly hindered by a moderate night at the foul line. Over the last three minutes of play, Gibbs and his teammates spent ample time at the stripe. Gibbs was 8 of 13 down the stretch, but Lawrence sank 7 of 8 attempts in the final two min- utes to help keep the Chargers at bay.
The Eagles finished the night 32 of 46 from the free-throw line (69.5 percent). Gibbs made 16 of 24 (66.7 percent) and Law- rence 11 of 14 (78.5 percent). Lackey, on the other hand, was 11 of 16 (69 percent) as a team.
“We probably spent 45 min- utes to an hour taking free throws after practice [on Thurs- day],” Gibbs said. “We missed a lot of free throws against St. Charles [in a 74-69 loss on Jan. 4]. This was a great win for us. We have started off slow, but we still have time to get things together.”
Everett has been Lackey’s leading scorer thus far, but Ra- sheed Cooley helped the hosts stay close in Friday’s contest by scoring nine points in the third quarter, including a layup in the waning seconds. Everett also had two three-pointers in the first half, but he was limited to a jumper and a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter.
North Point forged an early 12-5 lead as Gibbs scored eight points in that span and finished the opening frame with 10. Parker, Everett and Cooley each hit three-pointers for the Chargers in the latter stage of the first quarter to trim the Eagles’ lead to 22-20.
Cooley led Lackey with 20 points, while Everett ended with 16, including four of the team’s 10 three-pointers.
On three different occasions in the second quarter, North Point extended its lead back to nine points. But a layup by Lack- ey’s James Wilkerson and a short jumper and a three-point- er by Everett brought the Chargers within four points until Lawrence ended the half with a three-pointer of his own to extend the Eagles’ lead to 43-36 at the break.
“We had a long talk after practice [on Thursday],” Lawrence said. “We kept reminding ourselves that we had to stay together and play more as a team. We haven’t been doing a lot of things right this season. We needed to play good team basketball. We knew this was going to be a tough game, but it’s a big win.”