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Lakewood boys rally to sink Blaine
LAKEWOOD — Playing the second of back-to-back, games, the Cougars walked a fine line between too little and too much energy.
In a 51-49 nonconference win over Blaine, the Lakewood boys hoops team overcame fatigue, foul trouble and a 14-point deficit Dec. 11.
“We wanted to come out in the second half with a burst of energy,” said Lakewood coach Matt Hart. “And the guys did everything they needed to get back into the game.”
The Cougars sat back for much of the first half, trying to make sound decisions and not let the Borderites get too far out of their sights. The strategy worked in the first quarter, as Lakewood trailed just 18-14, but the Cougars got very passive in the early second quarter, settling for seven straight 3-pointers — all misses. Before they knew it, Blaine had a 30-16 lead.
With four minutes remaining in the first half, Lakewood turned it on, ending the half on a 9-2 run to make the score 32-25. The Cougars extended that run on the shoulders of senior Tre Haslom, who scored 12 of his 22 points during Lakewood’s 20-2 run that was capped by a Dustin Stanton block that led to a monster dunk by Haslom with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“We really turned up the intensity in the second half,” said Haslom, who also had five rebounds. “Defensively, they were letting me shoot outside in the beginning, but had to start coming out to guard me once I showed they had to respect my jumper.”
The Cougars led 38-34 after the run, but seesawed with the Borderites the rest of the game. In fact, Blaine led 49-48 with a minute remaining before Stanton put the Cougars up for good with an offensive rebound and putback with 34 seconds remaining.
Stanton aptly did the dirty work for the Cougars, finishing with 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
“He’s still a little uncomfortable (in the post),” said Hart of Stanton. “But day-by-day, he’s getting more confident and making plays like we saw tonight.”
With Stanton and Haslom getting most of the spotlight, the play of senior Lucas Harkins would typically overlooked, but he took over when starting point guard Caleb Graves fouled out and kept his calm in bringing the ball up the floor in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and hit a free throw to put the Cougars up 51-49.
“We just had a bunch of the younger and less-experienced guys step up tonight,” said Haslom. “We asked a lot out of Luke in the final minutes and he really helped us get this win.”