LAKEWOOD - The bad news for the Lakewood boys basketball team, according to head coach Randy Holmes, is that the Piners' youth and inexperience is currently a weakness at this stage of the season.

The good news for Holmes and company is that that should change with time and when the youngest members of his team showed their inexperience in an adverse situation Monday against Donovan Catholic, Lakewood's leader still made sure it did not cost the team a win.

Senior Amir Tyler scored 31 points and the Piners survived a second-half scare from the Griffins to earn a key B South win, 70-62.

Lakewood senior Sean Barksdale. (Photo by Matt Manley)

"We showed our youth in the second half, but fortunately, we have guys like Amir Tyler and Sean Barksdale to pick up the slack and lead us in those tough situations," Holmes said. "Our young guys are probably a weakness right now, but they won't be for long. They just need to learn from experiences like this and by the end of the season, I really believe they are going to be strengths for us."

 

Tyler scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter, including 9-for-13 from the foul line, to help Lakewood overcome a 30-point quarter by the Griffins. He shot 11-for-16 from the line for the game.

Lakewood faced a Donovan Catholic team that was missing second-leading scorer Mike Boice due to a broken bone in the senior guard's left hand. The Piners suffered their own injury when senior point huard Kaseam Wilson left the game in the first quarter with Lakewood already out to a double-digit lead.

The injury to Wilson opened up playing time for sophomores Zyheir and Jyheir Jones, who provided energy on both ends but showed some inexperience, according to Holmes, once Donovan Catholic put its full-court press on in the second half.

"We had to put a couple sophomores in the game and I knew they were going to come in a little nervous," Tyler said. "I just had to do what I do and take over. I just had to pick up the senior leadership and get my team over the hump."

Tyler scored 14 points in the first half, during which Lakewood outscored Donovan Catholic 35-13. He connected on his first three attempts of the game - two of which were three-pointers - and shot 5-for-6 during a 12-point first quarter.

The Griffins bounced back from their poor first half with a 19-11 third quarter and chopped the deficit to 65-59 with 1:25 left. Lakewood committed 25 turnovers in the game.

"As a senior, I wasn't thinking it was over, but I think as a team we might have started to think, 'Ah, it's over,'" Tyler said. "Then, they started hitting shots, we started getting nervous and we just had to calm down. This is our home court and we knew we couldn't lose a game like this on our home court."

Senior Riley Collins led Donovan Catholic with 23 points, six assists and six steals, including 19 points in the second half. Senior Tyler McShea added 13 points and 11 rebounds and senior Kevin Singleton chipped in 12 points and five rebounds in the loss.

Senior Ryzson Barnes contributed 10 points and 12 rebounds for Lakewood. Junior Adiam Palmer also scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter, including a breakaway dunk that put Lakewood ahead 69-59 with a litte more than a minute left.

Donovan Catholic held Lakewood leading scorer Sean Barksdale to 7 points after the senior wing entered the game averaging 17.4. Barksdale appeared to get going when he he hit a three and converted a layup within two minutes of one another in the second quarter, but shot 0-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-4 from the free-throw line in the second half. Barksdale did chip in seven rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in the win.

After six games, Tyler and Barksdale are each averaging 15.7 points for the Piners, who are off to a 3-0 start in a Class B South division have won each of the past three seasons outright. Lakewood won Class C Central outright in the prior two seasons.

"It's good having both of us, because we just see which one has the hot hand and we go to that guy," Tyler said of the start that he and Barksdale are off to. "If Sean is feeling it, I'm going to let him eat. I'm going to make sure he's getting the ball."

 

Box Score

Lakewood 70, Donovan Catholic 62

1 2 3 4 F
Donovan Catholic (4-3, 2-1) 8 5 19 30 62
Lakewood (4-2, 3-0) 18 17 11 24 70

 

Donovan Catholic (62): Riley Collins 7 9-10 23, Jetthro Moll 1 3-5 5, Erik Braaten 0 0-0 0, Tyler McShea 6 1-3 13, Kevin Singleton 5 1-2 12, Marcus Rosario 2 0-0 5, Joe San Fillippo 0 2-3 2, Matt Melon 0 2-4 2, Dan Wilson 0 0-0 0, Jared Small 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 18-28 62

Three-pointers: Singleton, Rosario

Fouled Out: Moll, McShea, Rosario

Lakewood (70): Kaseam Wilson 1 0-0 2, Amir Tyler 9 11-16 31, Ryzson Barnes 3 4-6 10, Sean Barksdale 2 2-4 7, Drayton Bonaparte 2 1-2 6, Adiam Palmer 2 4-5 8, Jyheir Jones 1 0-0 2, Zyheir Jones 1 2-3 4. Totals: 21 24-36 70

Three-pointers: Tyler 2, Barksdale, Bonaparte