HOT SPRINGS, Ar. — Lake Hamilton needed a 3-pointer in the final seconds to force overtime at Lakeside Thursday night. Attempts by Easton Hurley and Demetrius Sharp bounced off the rim in the final eight seconds. The cold-shooting Wolves made only 2 of 28 three-point attempts, missing their first 18.
Obviously it was a bad shooting night for Lake Hamilton, but the Rams’s defense deserved considerable credit in Lakeside’s 51-47 victory. The win earns Lakeside (20-10, 9-2) a share of second place in 5A South with the Wolves (17-5, 9-2). Both schools have road games against front-running Pine Bluff left. The Wolves play at Hot Springs Friday, and the Rams’ next contest is at White Hall.
“Lake Hamilton is one of the top teams in our league, and Scotty Pennington (Lake Hamilton coach) is a good friend of mine, said Lakeside mentor Eddy Lamb, who was recognized prior to the game for having won more than 1,000 games during his head coaching career. “Both teams played their tails off. It was a great ball game.
“We knew they can shoot, but they didn’t shoot it as well as they can tonight. We tried to run them off the three-point line the best we could. They had their opportunities, but we hang our hat on our defense. We wanted to score in the 40s or 50s, and not in the 70s or 80s. We’re proud of our defensive effort. The fact it was a four-point margin just tells you how explosive they can be when they’re hitting.”
Cold-shooting night for everyone
The Wolves also played inspired defense. Lake Hamilton missed its first 10 attempts from three-point range, and only trailed 8-6 at the first break. They tried pressing the Rams, but Taevon Johnson consistently got the ball up court. Johnson was also Lakeside’s offensive ringleader with 19 points. He scored 15 in the first half and the Rams led 24-19 at intermission.
Lakeside’s lead was four points going into the fourth quarter. Two minutes into the final period the Wolves had stolen the lead 39-38. That didn’t last long with Johnson, A.J. Howard and sophomore Breylen Russell keeping the home team on top. Howard scored all eight of his points in the second half, and Russell scored eight before fouling out.
Lakeside’s girls also played outstanding defense, but couldn’t make up an early deficit in falling to the Wolves, 46-30.
Lake Hamilton (20-2, 9-0) remains atop 5A South, while the Lady Rams slip to 12-13 overall and 6-4 in conference play.
Hayleigh Wyrick led the winners with 11 points. Senior Ronni Formby buried four 3-pointers to lead Lakeside with 12 points.