PAINESVILLE — The team that sticks together, wins together.
That has become the mantra of sorts for the Lakeside boys basketball team this season.
Friday night, the Dragons stuck together in defeating the Chagrin Valley Conference champions Harvey Red Raiders 64-58 at Harvey High School on Friday night.
“With all the adversity we’ve been through, it’s good to know that we can stick together and come out with a 'W,”' Lakeside point guard Brandon Ford said. “We beat the CVC champions. We can compete with the best of the best.”
Ford finished the night with a modest 10 points to go with seven assists. Down the stretch, though, he had the ball in his hands on every possession as the Red Raiders turned to their trapping pressure defense to trim a 10-point deficit to as low as three at 52-49 with four minutes to go in the game.
With the crowd behind their home team champions and the pressure mounting, Ford said his team just needed to come together.
“We had to stay calm,” Ford said. “We had to talk to each other, believe in each other. When we stay together, we can do anything.”
After trailing for much of the first half, Lakeside (8-10, 6-6 CVC) fought back and went to the locker room down just one point at 27-26.
Then in the third quarter, the shooters took over.
The Dragons hit five 3-point shots and outscored the hosts 23-12 to open up a 49-39 lead headed to the fourth. Ford and Saivion Colbert each hit a pair from beyond the arc and Javontae Yates added one as well.
The CVC champs, though, were not about to go quietly, though. Harvey (13-6, 9-3 CVC) opened the fourth though on an 8-1 run to cut Lakeside’s lead to three.
The Dragons did not get their first field goal until the 4:09 mark when Dom Parsons scored on a dish from Ford.
Parsons finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Nine of his 17 points came in the final four minutes.
The Raiders answered back quickly with a hoop off a steal by Roderick Coffee III.
But Lakeside got an offensive putback by Sean McKee, a hoop from Yates and another inside basket by Parsons to put the Dragons back up by nine inside the three-minute mark.
“We just had to play smart,” Parsons said of the final stretch. “Try to slow it down, move the ball around, get smart shots.”
For Lakeside coach Matt Newsome, the way his team came together was exactly what he’d been preaching every practice since taking over this season.
“That’s something we talk about all the time,” Newsome said. “Coming together as a team rather than individuals. We’ve been working on it, talking about it at practice and discussing it before the games and I think these guys really showed that they were able to do that.”
The loss offset a 10-point setback the Dragons suffered to Harvey earlier this season at Lakeside. That night, the Raiders zone defense stymied Lakeside’s offense.
“Part of what we worked on was snapping our passes a lot quicker, we wanted to make sure we weren’t floating any passes and we had proper spacing,” Newsome said of the adjustments he and staff made. “These are all things we’ve been working on at practice.We’ve also been watching a lot of film on Harvey, and worked a lot on some of the specific things we thought we could do.”
Four Dragons finished in double figures. Aside from Ford and Parsons, McKee went for 14 points to go with five rebounds, while Saivion Colbert scored 14 points, including four shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
Bishop Thomas led Harvey with 19 points and Coffee III added14.
The Dragons don’t have much time to celebrate. They’ll head to Lakewood to take on state powerehouse St Edward tonight, before wrapping up the regular season next week with road games against Jefferson and Painesville Riverside.