By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
The Lakeside boys have suffered some difficult losses this season. But Friday’s 61-57 defeat at South may be the most difficult.
“(It’s) probably the toughest one all year,” Lakeside coach Mark Taylor said.
The Dragons, who led most of the night after an early 12-0 run, held a 57-52 advantage with 3:29 left. But South (4-11, 3-6 in the Premier Athletic Conference) ran off the final nine points, with Harry Chakirelis (18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists) sinking four of six free throws in the final 1:04 after he assisted to Ben Robinson (9 points) to tie it.
“I was proud of the way we responded being down,” South coach Roy Infalvi Jr. said. “We didn’t try to do too much too quick.”
Chakirelis had also scored the winning basket in a 49-47 win when the teams met at Lakeside on Dec. 14.
The Dragons scored four more field goals than their foe, and shot much better (48.9 percent to 31.6). But this game had something in common with other recent Dragons losses — a whopping disparity in free throw attempts, with the Rebels making 18-of-32 compared to just seven-of-10 for Lakeside.
Also, Emonte Parks (18 points, 8 assists) fouled out with 1:27 left, about 2:30 after teammate Nick Meola (12 points, 2 blocks) did. Marcell Ballenger, who had nine rebounds, had four first-half fouls.
“Two of my best players fouled out, and questionable calls.” Taylor, who also credited the Rebels, said. “The foul shooting disparity was (32-10) (in a) one-possession game. It’s tough. I definitely felt there was some home cooking tonight.”
Regulars Sayvaughn Morgan and Tristan Bradley did not play for Lakeside.
“I love this team; I love their heart,” Taylor, who pointed out that Kyle Downs (10 of his 13 points in the first quarter) played with the flu, said. “Every game they’ve battled.”
Dylan Caruso (14 points including four 3-pointers) and Kareem Hunt (12 points, eight boards) starred for South.
Turnovers numbered 24-16 against Lakeside, and were identified by Taylor as a key.
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.