By VINCE PELUSO
SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP —
Madison coach Pat Moran wants his Blue Streaks to play fast.
First-year Lakeside coach Jim Hood wants his team to control the tempo of the game.
Moran got what he wanted as his Blue Streaks played at a break-neck speed at Lakeside Gymnasium on Friday night, but Hood’s squad got the Premier Athletic Conference win as the Dragons claimed the shootout, 106-93.
“It was a total team effort tonight,” Hood said. “We got a long way to go, scoring is no problem for us, we’ve just got to shore up the defense. We’ve got goals that we’ve set for ourselves and one of those goals after the first game was get the turnovers down and we got them down for a while and we want play a little better defense.
“But, then there’s something about that tempo (Madison played). We just can’t seem to control that tempo like we did against Riverside. Riverside was up and down, but we handled it. It’s just a growing process for us.”
Despite 36 turnovers, the Dragons shot 56.8 percent from the field and scored 64 points in the second half.
That was thanks in large part to Jaedon Jones’ game-high 29 points, which he scored all in the second half after not playing in the first half.
“I told him, we had an internal problem and that’s why he didn’t play in the first half, we can’t afford to have those problems,” Hood said. “I told him we need him on the floor. Other guys stepped up and I’m surprise those guys hung on in the first. I thought we were gonna be out of numbers, we were down four guys tonight, but everybody answered the bell tonight.”
One of those players who stepped up was freshman Matt Lunghofer, who scored 24 points.
Madison (0-2, 0-2) sprinted out to a 14-6 lead two and a half minutes into the game, prompting Hood to call two timeouts over that span.
The teams went back and forth throughout the first half with Aaron Petruccelli beating the buzzer with a 3 to stretch the Madison halftime lead to 47-42.
But Lakeside (2-3, 1-1) came out of the half strong with Jones scoring 18 points in the third quarter.
Lorenz Sistrunk (21 points) answered Petruccelli’s buzzer beater by banking in a 3 of his own in front of the horn to end the third, giving Lakeside a 76-72 lead after three quarters.
The teams again went back and forth with Lakeside holding a 92-89 lead late in the fourth. From there, the Dragons closed out the game on a 14-3 run.
Friday was just Madison’s second contest of the season as it began late thanks to the football team’s run to the Division II, Region 3 final.
“It was actually the same thing we did against North,” Moran said. “This is kind of like how we wanna play. This is the second game we’ve given up 106 points, but if anybody wants to say we’re not defending, they can really look at the fact that we forced them into 36 turnovers. Our thing is it’s a brand new way of playing, eight of our top kids are football players so we put this in in a matter of two and a half weeks. It’s going to take some time. The kids are still positive.
“Like Coach (David) Negin said in there (the locker room) we’ve played eight quarters and we’ve won five of them, it’s just the ones towards the end when we have to get into a little bit better physical shape and we’ll be able to close games out like this.”
Turnovers were a point of emphasis for Hood, who wasn’t pleased with his team leaving that many possessions out there.
“We were very, very sloppy, oh man those turnovers,” he said. “But part of it’s we’re a young team, too.”
John Dahlhausen led the Blue Streaks with 25 points and 11 rebounds while Brandon Burkholder added 16 and Jordan McClure contributed 14 to go with five assists and seven steals.
Despite scoring 93 points, Madison struggled to put the ball in the basket at times, going 37 of 96 (38.5 percent) from the field and 14 of 30 from the free throw line.
“I think probably the most disappointing thing is we need to cut down on our turnovers (20 for the game), we’re our own worst enemy in that way,” he said. “We want to limit those. We want to take about 80 shots per game and if we cut our turnovers down to 15 or so and that’s five extra possessions, that’s five extra shots for us and we’re fine.
“The kids are great kids. We were 14 of 30 from the line and I think we missed a few that could’ve stopped some of their runs. But a lot of these kids, the last time they picked up a basketball was June or July so it’s really gonna take some time for us.”
For Lakeside, the win was the Dragons’ second in a row, both coming in the PAC.
While he knows his team has plenty to work on, Hood was pleased with the end result.
“You have to look at that (two wins in a row) as positive things because you know you have other guys ready to step up,” he said. “With time we’re just going to get better. We still have a long way to go and still have a lot of things to correct but if we keep work hard in practice we should be OK.”