MONROE—In the fourth installment of the Lakewood Park Christian/Adams Central rivalry and senior night for the Jets at the Hangar, it was the Panthers' Wes Davidson and Blake Mann who stole the show tallying 43 of LPC's 80 points in a rout of the Jets, 80-47.
Davidson and Mann did most of their work on the glass tallying 15 rebounds apiece (30 of the team's 44 boards) in Friday night's non-conference contest. Adams Central had only 17 rebounds in the game.
"I thought our rebounding was really key in the game," Lakewood coach Marc Davidson noted after the game. "I know we got a lot of easy shots right at the rim and it made the difference in the game."
Rebounding has been a critical key to success all season long for the Panthers who improved to 15-5 with their 11th straight win after starting the year 4-5. The Jets are the third victim against ACAC opponents for the Panthers in as many games after knocking off Leo and then Garrett in the previous two games. AC snaps a five-game win streak.
"Wes and Blake have rebounded for us all year," praised the Lakewood coach. "I tell them all the time that rebounding is a habit. Right now they are both in the habit of rebounding and they just get up and go get it with their athleticism."
While Lakewood shot a mediocre 6-17 from beyond the three-point line, it was the second chance points (26) that killed the Jets with both Mann and Davidson feisting on the glass, a point not lost on AC coach Aaron McClure.
"We didn't do a good job at all on the boards. We're going to have to look at some film to see if we were not blocking out or if they were just beating us to the position."
A lot of the poor rebounding for AC may have been due to the triangle-and-two defense that coach McClure instituted especially for this game. Looking ahead to next week's sectional play, the Jets will have to take on title favorite Bishop Luers led by James Blackmon, Jr. who is averaging 35 points a game, tops in northeast Indiana.
"If you want to win a sectional, you have to prepare for the best team you'll see," observed coach McClure. "We can't overlook Churubusco but realistically we have to be ready for Luers on Friday night and we took this opportunity to work on some things."
Coach Davidson was aware of the defensive adjustments the Jets were working on during the game.
"We knew they were experimenting with different things so I didn't think we got their best shot."
Honoring senior night, coach McClure started five seniors on the floor including some members of the Jets who have not seen much floor time this season. The Panthers took full advantage and started the game on a 10-2 run.
AC cut it to 10-6 but would get no closer in the entire game as the Panthers would respond to every run with one of their own pushing the tempo against the Jets whenever possible.
It was 20-11 after one quarter and expanded to 25-11 as the Panthers picked right back up in the second quarter one a three-pointer by Greg Hathaway from the corner. The Jets would cut the lead back to 10 a few plays later as Isaac Luginbill and Hayden Black knocked down consecutive threes to make it 27-17. A 6-0 run of their own pushed the Panthers back ahead by 16 and by the end of the half, the teams equaled their first quarter outputs once again with Lakewood doubling their lead, 40-22.