Back on the win­ning trail

Ea­gles boys re­bound from St. Charles loss with win over Lackey

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

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.”

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