FELTON – The 2017 DIAA state playoff brackets for basketball were released Friday afternoon, and Lake Forest has not one but two teams taking the next step towards a state championship.
Both the boys’ and girls’ basketball squads at Lake Forest High School have made the cut, earning a spot in the 24-team field across the state of Delaware.
This marks the fourth straight DIAA appearance for girls’ head coach Trenita Shields. For the boys’ squad, it’s the first DIAA appearance since the 2010-11 season.
Finishing the regular season at 14-6 with a convincing season-ending victory over St. Georges Feb. 16, Lake’s girls’ squad earned the No. 16 seed in the state tournament.
With the top eight teams earning a first-round bye, the No. 16 team plays host to the No. 17 team in the tourney. By coincidence, this sets up a local rivalry in the first round of the playoffs.
Lake plays host to the Milford Buccaneers (12-8) in the opening round Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.
Each year, these two schools meet twice during the regular season.
The Spartans got the best of Milford in the first match-up, pulling away with a 50-37 victory at home Dec. 16. The victory, with the help of a season-high 29 points from senior Mya Maddox put the Spartans at 3-1 on the season.
In the second match-up of the season, at Milford High School Feb. 2, the Bucs successfully avenged the early-season loss. A 42-37 win at home put Milford at 9-6 on the season and marked the team’s fourth straight victory.
Lake Forest has not lost a game since the five-point loss to Milford a month ago, with wins over Woodbridge (50-44), Smyrna (70-61), Indian River (51-18) and St. Georges (58-42) to cap the 14-win season.
The boys’ squad, under the leadership of head coach Michael Starkey, finished the regular season with a 12-8 record.
Back-to-back losses to Milford and Woodbridge in early February had the boys on the brink, at 9-8, but a strong finish to the season allowed Lake to snag the No. 20 seed in the state tournament.
The boys’ squad is set to travel to William Penn High School to face the No. 13 seed Wednesday, March 1 for first-round action.
With three straight wins over Caravel (67-57), Indian River (62-51) and Wilmington Christian (78-31) to end the season, Lake is hitting its stride just in time for the postseason.
In the last eight games, dating back to a Jan. 24 win over Laurel, junior guard Isaiah Morris has averaged 17.9 points per game. Over the last three games, his average has been 21.3 points, including a 26-point performance in a win over IR Feb. 14.
In the last three games, senior team leader Cameron Lewis has averaged 14.0 points per game.
Throughout the season, Starkey has seen increased production from players such as freshman Jaysem Vazquez, junior Kobe Mumford, senior Saleem Roach, junior Ahmanuel White and junior Desaun Bizzell.
If Lake can pull off an upset over the higher-seeded William Penn, they’ll get a crack at No. 4 Woodbridge in the second round.
Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.