The Press Newspaper
Ryan Bowen says he has a team with great chemistry and players who don’t care about their individual statistics.
The Lake boys’ basketball coach also has a trio of talented guards who plan to make life very difficult for the rest of the Northern Buckeye Conference this season.
The Flyers took an 8-0 record into their key game at preseason NBC favorite Otsego on Jan. 4. They put that unbeaten record together by both scoring nearly at will, as they did in a 118-56 rout of Genoa, and by playing stifling defense.
Lake has held six of its first eight opponents to 53 points or less, allowing just 19 points on the road against Elmwood, which went scoreless in the fourth quarter, and 32 against Oak Harbor.
The Flyers are getting 40 points a game from their guard trio of sophomores Connor Bowen, the coach’s son, and Jared Rettig and senior Tyler Landis.
Connor Bowen, a 5-11 point guard, is averaging 15 points, eight assists and four steals a game. A returning starter, he averaged just six points a game last season. He had a school-record 12 assists in the Flyers’ 62-point win over Genoa, and he nearly had a triple-double in a win over Woodward.
“He’s just an old-school point guard,” coach Bowen said. “He can handle the (opponents’) presses and he does all the work on the basketball court and can make things easier for everybody else. He’s a joy to coach. As a point guard he has to be a second coach on the court. He’s my son, so he may get chewed out more than others, but he is positive every day and he brings a lot of energy. He loves to win, and he shows it every day.”
The 6-2 Rettig started last year and averaged seven points a game. He has bumped that average up to 13 points a game this season.
“He’s a great scorer and he plays great defense,” coach Bowen said. “When Connor is doing the work for us and Jared is on the wing, he can shoot it and can finish well. Elmwood’s two best two players were averaging 42 points a game coming in, and Jared and Connor guarded those two and held them to zero field goals and two total points. You just tell them, ‘those are your two guys. Don’t let them get the ball.’ It’s nice when you have two kids take pride in the defensive end. Jared just plays smooth and smart.”
A big surprise has been Landis, who transferred in from Start last season but had difficulty meshing with the rest of the squad, according to coach Bowen. Landis (5-11), who is averaging 12 points a game, had never played organized basketball prior to last season.
“It showed,” coach Bowen said. “He got frustrated. He had a hard time dealing with structure and he thought, ‘I want to score, but not really work on the defensive end of it.’ We had a talk in the offseason and he’s bought into what we want him to do. He’s come a long ways.”
Landis scored 40 points, on 17-of-20 shooting, in the victory over Genoa.
“He’s a great open-court player, but he still struggles in the half-court aspect,” coach Bowen said. “He’s great when we’re in transition. This year he’s come a long way and bought in. He sees that everybody gets along and he wants to be a part of that.”
Not to be overlooked has been the play of Lake’s two 6-5 post players, Jayce Vancena and Marcus Pierce. The 225-pound Vancena is averaging 11 points and 10 rebounds per game, while the 260-pound Pierce averages eight points and eight rebounds.
“Our posts have done very well,” coach Bowen said. “We have a good starting five.”