In Lake's triumphant 118-56 boys basketball team’s win over Genoa, the Flyers high-flying offense set three school records.
First, 118 points broke the previous mark of 99, meaning it was the first time a Lake boys’ team broke the century mark. Second, Tyler Landis scored 40 points, one more than the previous record of 39 held by Fred Reese. Third, Connor Bowen set the new single-game assist record with 12, breaking the previous mark of 11.
It is a sign that the Flyers, after having lost Rashad Smith and Josh Tantari, its top two scorers from a season that saw them go 17-6 and tie for a share of the Northern Buckeye Conference, are a force to be reckoned with again
The Comets, under coach Keith Diebler, employed a full-court defense that backfired as Lake guards Connor Bowen and Jared Rettig were able to consistently break the press and find open men down court for high percentage shots. Genoa's defense played right into the hands of Lake, which also runs an up-tempo offense instituted by coach Ryan Bowen, featuring a number of versatile athletes and is predicated upon taking a bevy of shots.
The greatest recipient was Landis, the starting small forward, who scored his 40 points on 17-of-21 shooting. Five players finished with double figures as Bowen scored 20 points, Cody Witt contributed 18 and Rettig and Todd Walters had 11 points apiece.
“To beat Genoa in our house, our big rival, it was awesome,” said Connor Bowen, noting that it was the first boys’ game played at the school’s new field house. “We had Tyler go to the corner and Jared or I would beat the press and get the ball to him. We were going to stall it out but Genoa kept pressing us, so we kept scoring.”
Rettig said, “It was surreal. I never would have imagined scoring that many points. It was also a lot better feeling doing it in a new gym and against our rival, too.
“We knew coming into the game that (Landis) could have a very big night,” Rettig continued. “He was told before the game to shoot strictly lay-ups. So when we got rebounds he would hustle down the court on fast break and our teammates just kept feeding him the ball.”
The Flyers' other two games, against Toledo Christian (44-41) in the opener and Oak Harbor (51-32), were also impressive considering the way Lake was able to come away with two wins.
Against TC, which advanced to the Division IV district final last season and is expected to compete for a Toledo Area Athletic Conference title, the Flyers were forced into playing a slow, half court game that was to the Eagles' liking, but Lake still managed to grind out the victory.
Against the Rockets, Lake was also forced to play a slower tempo that benefited Oak Harbor. The game was tied at 23-all midway through the third quarter, but the Flyers dominated from that point forward, outscoring Oak Harbor, 28-9, to claim victory.
With a starting lineup that features Bowen, a 5-foot-11 point guard, and Rettig, a 6-2 shooting guard, Landis, a 5-11 small forward, and Marcus Pierce, a 6-5 center, there is reason to be optimistic.
Coach Bowen says despite having a group of versatile players that can score in bunches, it will likely be the defense that determines how far the Flyers go. He says Lake's defense is predicated upon its three smaller players stopping the opposing team's best players from scoring out on the perimeter with the big men there to back them up in the paint.
“Every day, we work very hard on communicating with everybody,” Vancena said. “Our practices are very intense and it carries over to our games. We all love playing with each other, we all want to be on the the floor together and have great chemistry.”
Rettig added, “We have very unselfish group. We play hard and we are always playing as one whole, not five individuals. We are also very well coached and have a very deep bench that comes in and gives us quality minutes. I love playing for these guys. They are my family.”