SEAFORD – Even with senior starting forward Cameron Lewis out of town on a football recruiting trip, Lake Forest boys’ varsity basketball took care of business on the road against the Seaford Blue Jays, 53-40.
Although missing one of his top scorers, head coach Michael Starkey was impressed with the effort he saw from his players Friday night.
“We never want to play without our best player, but we were actually looking forward to seeing what this young group could do,” he said. “There’s some talent here. These last couple days we’ve just been saying we’re going to go down and expect to do the same thing we would if Cam was with us.”
The 13-point victory was a total team effort.
“We knew somebody else would have to step up, and we saw a few different people do that,” Starkey said of his team’s effort. “They all found different ways.”
The game started off slow-paced and low-scoring, as the two squads each garnered just 15 points in the first half of play.
Once the third quarter tipped off, however, the buckets started to drop.
With back-to-back three-pointers from juniors Desaun Bizzell and Isaiah Morris to open up the second half, Lake Forest took control of the game in the final 16 minutes.
The Spartans put up 38 second-half points, including 25 in the fourth quarter alone.
Junior forward Kobe Mumford ignited a 14-6 run early in the fourth quarter following a successful three-point play. The lay-up and successful free throw attempt made up three of his nine points on the night.
Morris, one of the team’s top scorers alongside Lewis, recorded his fourth straight double-digit game by putting up 10 points in the win.
“We did a lot of practicing without Cam,” Morris said of his team’s preparation. “He [coach] showed us that we can do it without Cam. We have it in us to step up and play with the intensity that we need in order to win. We knew we had it in us, I guess if it takes losing our star for a game then that’s what it takes.”
Morris’ leadership has been essential throughout the season, but in Friday’s win it was freshman Jaysem Vazquez who led the way in scoring, putting up his second career 11-point game.
“He’s a natural leader,” coach Starkey said of the freshman guard. “I love his heart, and he’s going to be a special player these next three and a half years.”
Bizzell racked up six points in the final 2:05 of the game, putting him at nine points on the night.
Saleem Roach and Kyle Hammond were the only two seniors who suited up for Lake Friday night, and both made strong contributions to the victory.
Roach put up nine points and was a force underneath the basket, while Hammond started in place of Cam and recorded five points while reeling in a few crucial rebounds on defense.
At 8-6 with six regular season games to play, coach Starkey hopes Lake can continue to improve each day and find a way to get into the DIAA state tournament by season’s end. The squad will begin preparations for rematches against Sussex Academy and Milford next week.
“Hopefully this game coming up against Sussex Academy can help our young guys gain some more confidence,” Morris said.
“We treat each day like a tune-up,” Starkey said. “We’re trying to prepare each day to get better.”
Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.