WINONA LAKE – The season is young, but the growing pains are real for the Lakeland Christian Academy boys basketball team.
The Cougars welcomed in Bethany Christian Tuesday night and the visiting Bruins were anything but gracious guests. Bethany dominated the young LCA squad from the opening tip en route to a 96-28 victory.
The senior laden Bethany squad was able to move the ball fluidly and take advantage of a young Cougar lineup. A very successful full-court press in the first quarter helped the visiting squad build up a 35-6 lead heading into the second. The struggles continued for LCA even after the press stopped.
The Cougars remained frustrated by the Bruins defense in the second frame, but managed to score 10 points, bringing their halftime total to 16. Unfortunately for LCA, Bethany continued to roll offensively, totaling 56 points before the break.
Bethany was led by a Cristian Romero and Sol Brenneman, the duo accounted for 35 of the team’s 96 points. Ryan Duckworth and Noah Richer combined for another 26 points for the Bruins. Bethany was 10-13 from the charity stripe in Tuesday’s contest.
From the line, LCA was a respectable 13-21 but could never get a rhythm going offensively. The Cougars have just one senior on their roster and have two freshmen in their lineup. While starting two freshmen is never really an ideal scenario, LCA’s Josh McDaniel and Noah Twombly are doing a great job at learning on the fly.
Both struggled with turnovers Tuesday night, as did most of the team. Still, McDaniel and Twombly combined for half of the team’s points with 14. McDaniel led the team with nine points. Conner Blum added eight points for LCA. Jon Harmon (four points) and Kyle Shuler (two points) rounded out the scoring for the Cougars.
The Cougars had more turnovers (40) than points or even shot attempts. Yes, the growing pains are real but they come with the territory of being a young team. LCA head coach Christopher Hohm offered his thoughts on the team’s performance.
“We’re seeing flashes of improvement, we’re just young and haven’t figured out how to handle pressure yet,” began Hohm. “We are still trying to figure out how to be aggressive without being too aggressive and getting out of control. A lot of that is one me for not having them prepared for that pressure, I’ll take responsibility for that.
“We stuck to our game plan in trying to get Bethany into situations where they would be unsuccessful in shooting the ball, we were successful with that at times. We just had way too many breakdowns defensively. That comes from playing a lot of young players, many of our guys were playing eighth grade basketball last year so we are still working on building up that aggression.”
LCA (0-2) will host Hamilton this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The girls team will play Hamilton at 6 p.m.