STONEBORO — Last season, Lakeview went on a run through the District 10 playoffs and even won a PIAA Class 2A playoff game over West Branch. Now the 2020 Sailors began their quest anew and they’re off to a good start.
“You always lose those quality guys,” said Lakeview head coach Garrett Blaschak. “Gavin Boggs, Zach Doddo, Noah Burke and Robert King; we lose those guys and it’s always hard to replace them. But these guys have put the work in and they’ve done the things that are necessary to make that same run.”
On Friday night at Lakeview High School, defense was key as Lakeview pulled away from Saegertown 55-26 in the first round of the District 10 Class 2A boys basketball playoffs.
“(Lakeview) was a great defensive team. Every shot they were contesting. Every shot that you thought about they had you thinking about it,” said Saegertown head coach Chris Greco. “We didn’t have a whole lot of open looks. Our shooters had good looks they just weren’t open looks. That’s a very good team, defensively.”
Lakeview improves to 15-8 on the season and advances to the quarterfinals against Cochranton. Saegertown’s season ends at 8-15.
“(Saegertown) is only going to get better in the future and, again, they’re well-coached and I thought they were prepared. The score didn’t dictate how good a team they are,” said Blaschak.
Early on, Saegertown matched each of Lakeview’s early punches. Nate McIntire dropped in two 3-pointers to start the game for the Sailors, but Logan Ingram scored five points himself to help the Panthers even things up at 6-6.
After Hunter Miller scored for the Sailors, Saegertown took its only lead of the game off a corner trey from Max Fuller.
Lakeview closed the first quarter with an 8-0 run started by a nice pro hop drive from McIntire.
The Panthers eventually cut it back down to 20-17 off another trey from Fuller with 1:36 to play in the half, but Lakeview once again had the answer.
“We played a good first quarter and a half, we were right there,” said Greco. “They made some adjustments, we tried to make some adjustments. They started hitting their shots and we didn’t.”
Anthony Grim and Lane Smith both got to the free throw line and scored a pair. Just as time expired, Cole Thiec cut to the 3-point line and buried a triple for the 27-17 advantage.
Lakeview pulled away with a dominating third stanza defensively. The Sailors forced six turnovers and held Saegertown to just 1 of 11 from the field.
“Rocky start in the first half there,” said Blaschak. “We came out in the second half with a little more defensive energy, a little more amped up.
“I was very pleased with our defensive effort.”
Brett Beith, who dealt with some early foul trouble, returned to the floor and made an early impact with two buckets inside. This sparked a 17-3 run
Smith scored five points himself at the end of the quarter. Thiec took over with a couple fast-break scores and a late trey to give the Sailors a 44-20 lead through three quarters.
“That’s where we want to be defensively,” said Greco.
Lakeview rolled to the finish with a pair of layups from Smith including one off a no-look dish from Beith.
Smith helped the Sailors’ bench outscore Saegertown 15-5.
For Saegertown, Fuller led the way with eight points. Ingram added seven.
“We have some brighter days ahead,” said Greco. “I thank the seniors for their service and when they look back on our future successes, they’re going to be a major part of that too.”
Thiec paced the Sailor offense with 15 points. McIntire and Hunter Miller both added eight and Beith scored seven.
“You play the game because you don’t know who’s going to win. So I can’t stand here and tell you that we’re going to make the same run because that’s something that doesn’t happen very often especially for a small school,” Blaschak said. “We have the talent, we have the ability, we have the bench depth to get us to that run.
“It’s just about going in and playing each game like we did tonight.”