Friday night’s opener between the Lakeside and Kenston boys was a sloppy one, as first games of the season often are. It was just a bit more that way for the visiting Dragons.
With the game taking place at a frenetic pace, Lakeside turned the ball over 31 times in the 58-45 defeat, although it stayed in the non-conference ballgame until late.
The Bombers, who were missing three starters, led wire-to-wire, although obviosly it wasn’t an easy win. They grabbed two early 12-point leads, but the relentless Dragons fought back, eventually getting as close as 43-41 late in the third quarter.
But Kenston allowed just four points in the fourth period, all coming in the first 21⁄2 minutes. When Lorenz Sistrunk (9 points) followed in his own miss to cut it to 50-45, it would be the final time Lakeside would score.
The Bombers eventually pulled away, with Bernie Porter (4 assists) feeding Austin Lamb (9 points, 2 blocks) for a layup, Porter hitting two free throws, and then Jack Quigley (14points, 9 rebounds) converting a pair of foul shots and a layup.
Emonte Parks led Lakeside with 12 points and eight rebounds. Tristan Bradley dished out six assists, and Marcell Ballenger put in all eight of his points in the second quarter.
The Dragons also blocked eight shots, with two each by P:arks, Ballenger and Sistrunk. Kenston coach Josh Jakacki thought that could have caused his players to be tentative inside at times, leading to missed shots.
“I actually think we ran out of gas, first-year Lakeside coach Mark Taylor said. “I told the guys they gave above 110 percent. They left their heart out here; so much emotion, so much passion. I think we just had nothing left in the tank. (We) couldn’t make shots, and we got a little reckless — careless with the ball.
Each side made 17 baskets, but the Bombers went to the line more than twice as often as the Dragons. They went 21-of-34 from the line as compared to seven-of-16 for Lakeside.
“We were very aggressive,” Jakacki said.
David Fruchter had 12 points, Jeremy Wyers eight points, six steals and seven caroms, and Brad Weemhoff two blocks for the Bombers.
Guards Darryl Richards and Peter Rozman and center Sam Coverdale were the missing Kenston starters.
Lakeside, which committed 27 fouls, had several players in foul trouble during the contest. Kyle Downs eventually fouled out, as did Kenston’s Jay Weemhoff. The Bombers weren’t far behind, with 21 fouls, and in fact gave the ball up 22 times.
“Very sloppy, Jakacki said. “To be honest, that’s the pace we wanted. That’s the kind of game we want to create. And to be quite frank, I think that game could have been a 25-point win. We missed a lot of shots at the rim that would have made it a lot different.
“Credit Lakeside for making a nice run and making it close again, but (we’re) a very young team — a little inexperienced. We made some big plays down the stretch. We did an outstanding job defensively.
“We had a lot of turnovers,” Taylor said. “I think you can attribute that to the nerves. First game of the year, still getting used to the offense and the system. It’s a work in progress. And we lost a lot of seniors. We’re a young team, and with young teams that are nervous, they get real skittish.
“I’m very proud of the kids’ effort,” Jakacki said.
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.