Despite its full squad missing eight days of practice due to the football team’s appearance in the state playoffs, Lake’s basketball team is still unbeaten through the first quarter of the 2013-14 season.
“Our first official practice was Nov. 1 and the last football game was the same day,” coach Ryan Bowen said. “Our (six) varsity football kids didn’t come until two weeks later and it set us back a couple weeks. Some of the players adapted pretty quick. We have some nice athletes and it didn’t take them very long. We didn’t change our schedule at all.”
The Flyers opened the season Nov. 29 with a 70-52 win over Toledo Christian. Lake (5-0, 3-0 Northern Buckeye Conference) followed with wins over Fostoria (57-37), Oak Harbor (70-44) and Eastwood (52-49) before routing Genoa 101-65 on Tuesday night.
“We have very good shooting team,” Bowen said, “and they found their stroke pretty fast.”
Jake Rettig, a 5-foot-11 freshman, was the hero against visiting Eastwood, connecting on a game-winning 3-pointer from the right wing with 3.5 seconds left in the game. Junior guard Connor Bowen scored 23 points in the victory.
“It was huge,” coach Bowen said of the win. “We lost to Eastwood twice last year by a combined three points. It’s nice to get that monkey off our back.”
Connor Bowen, a first-team all-conference and all-district performer a year ago, leads Lake with a 19-point scoring average to go along with eight assists, six rebounds and four steals a game. The junior point guard is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range and 54 percent from inside the arc.
“Going into (Tuesday) night he was leading us in every offensive category,” coach Bowen said. “Connor has almost had triple-doubles twice this year already. He’s doing everything for us and playing very well. We have 4-5 very good shooters and when you have a point guard who finds them, it makes it a lot easier. He had 12 points and 11 assists against TC.”
Junior guard Jared Rettig, a second-team All-NBC and all-district pick last year, has been “up and down” so far this season, according to coach Bowen. Rettig is averaging 13 points and six rebounds after scoring 29 points in the win over Genoa.
“He had a nice game against TC (19 points) and the next game he had zero (points),” coach Bowen said. “He scored 13 vs. Oak Harbor and then he had three against Eastwood. He’s back in the swing of things now.”
Coach Bowen said Cody Witt (9 ppg.) has been “phenomenal.” The senior guard is shooting 38 percent from 3-point range.
“He’s a great 3-point shooter,” the coach said. “Connor, Jared and Cody are our captains, but Cody’s our vocal guy because he’s a senior. He worked hard all offseason and is a great kid to coach this year so far.”
Todd Walters, a 6-3 junior post, is contributing eight points and six rebounds a game.
“He runs the court very well for a post player,” coach Bowen said. “His attribute is to get up and down the court and beat most post players to their spots.”
Another key performer has been sophomore guard Brandyn Neal, who attended St. John’s Jesuit last year. Neal averages eight points a game and collects nearly six rebounds and two steals a game.
“He’s just a complete hustler on the court,” coach Bowen said. “He’s all over the place. He is athletic and he’s a fast guard who complements Connor very well in the back court.”
Lake looked for its sixth win of the season at home on Friday against NBC rival Elmwood.
“We want to stay consistent and stay focused on each game,” coach Bowen said. “Our goal always is to go 1-0. We don’t look past any game. We have to play our style of basketball and we like to play fast, but controlled fast. We just want to be 1-0 after each game.”
Lake coach Ryan Bowen, sporting a beard he didn’t have last year, discusses strategy during Lake’s 101-65 victory over Genoa. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.smugmug.com)
Lake 6-foot-2 junior guard Jared Rettig drives to the basket in Lake’s 101-65 victory over Genoa. (Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.smugmug.com)