HOT SPRINGS, Ar. — Hot Springs kept the outcome in doubt Friday night until the final two minutes when crosstown rival Lakeside erased a five-point deficit to win at the Trojans’ arena, 53-48.
The Rams improve to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in conference. The host Trojans fall to 8-12 on the year and 2-4 in league play.
Several players stood out in the game. Hot Springs’ 6-8 senior Jabari West Jr., who is bound for George Washington University. West was better than average with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Lakeside’s Jordan Mills shines
A few might say Lakeside’s Jordan Mills, and you could easily make a case for the Rams’ 6-5 center being player of the game. Mills led the Rams with 17 points, nine in the fourth quarter when the winners went on a 10-0 run near the end. Mills also had the duty of guarding West.
Lakeside also had Alveon Harris, who added 10 points, and brought the Rams’ fans to their feet with a dunk to put his team up by four points with 36 seconds left in the game. Skyar Purifoy also contributed six key points.
Head coach Eddie Lamb was off celebrating and left postgame interviews to assistant Brandon Burton.
“We played well early, and made some big shots,” said Burton, who has been at Lakeside eight years. “We did a great job in the first half limiting their transition, and we kept them off the offensive glass. They got out on us in the second half and made some shots. Hot Springs is a good, phyisical team that always plays hard.
“I thought Jordan Mills played his tail off tonight. It was the best he’s played in a long time. Jordan did a great job of guarding a Division I player (West), and he made some big shots for us. We’re real happy for him.”
Lady Rams’ defense steals the show
Earlier Friday Lakeside’s girls played 16 minutes of incredible defense to capture a 23-0 lead over the Lady Trojans. Some thought it was even more incredible that Hot Springs outscored the Lady Rams in the second half, 22-20. Lakeside won, 43-22, but the Trojans went down fighting.
“Sometimes young teenagers tend to relax with a big lead,” said winning coach James Williams, who was a middle school coach at Hot Springs last year. “There was a big crowd, it was a rivalry, and we expected them to play better in the second half. They made their run, but we were able to make one of our own. We got the job done.
“Hot Springs didn’t lay down, and we respect them. There’s a lot of emotion going through me right now. Not only was I coaching here last year, I graduated here.”