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Lakewood's Haslom scores 36 but Cougars can't overcome Knights
SHORELINE — The best way to break a full-court press is to play defense.
Coach Matt Hart is hoping his Cougars learned that much against King's in a 67-51 Cascade Conference boys hoops loss Jan. 18.
"It's like we just told them (in the locker room), we just need to stop them from scoring," said Hart.
But the Cougars couldn't do that in the third quarter and ended up falling victim to a 1-3-1 trapping press that King's had time to set up after each basket, and forced 11 of Lakewood's 25 total turnovers in eight minutes.
Lakewood owned a 33-29 halftime lead behind an outstanding effort by senior Tre Haslom, who at one point scored 16 straight points for the Cougars in the first half.
Haslom scored 22 in the first half and fueled the Cougars' 8-0 run to capture a lead near the end of the half. King's stayed in the game by getting second-chance points, which stemmed from outrebounding Lakewood on the offensive glass 15-7.
But everything changed when King's hit a three right away and started pressing in the third quarter. The Cougars had trouble running a press breaker and a number of turnovers resulted in lay-ins for the Knights. King's outscored Lakewood 21-6 in the third quarter and cruised from that point on.
"You've got to hand it to them, the press was aggressive and we weren't ready for it," said Hart. "If we just break the press a couple of times, they'd stop running it."
Lakewood saw that much after Haslom hit a trio of consecutive 3-pointers to start the game and force King's out of it's 2-3 zone.
Haslom did as much as he could, scoring a game-high 36 points and grabbing eight rebounds for the Cougars, but the rest of the team ran into a familiar bad habit once Haslom got hot.
"I thought we played aggressive and really well in the first half, but in the second half, we started watching Tre score," said Hart. "And Tre has done a great job of embracing his role on this team, he has feels the added pressure to keep scoring and we've got to have more options."
The loss is the third straight for the Cougars and knocks them down to 6-8 overall and 3-5 in conference, meaning with five games to play, the Cougars will need to play well to make the district tournament.