The Lakeside and Evans high schools boys' basketball teams put on a show last week at the Evans gymnasium, while the Lady Knights were a no-show in their no-contest against the Lady Panthers.
The Lakeside girls posted a 67-12 win Tuesday in the opener, which was the most lopsided score ever in the Columbia County rivalry - in any sport.
After spectators had endured the painful viewing experience, the nightcap saved the day, as Evans edged Lakeside 45-44 in a thrilling overtime game.
"It was fun, what a rivalry is supposed to be," said Richie Carnes, the first-year coach who already has learned to loathe the black and gold. "You hate to lose, but this is the worst," he said.
Prep basketball teams place an emphasis on region games, but when Lakeside opened in 1988, the Evans-Lakeside matchup was elevated into a battle for local bragging rights, a privilege neither team takes lightly.
"This is our biggest nonregion game of the year. We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game," Evans coach Kevin Kenny said after watching forward Kendrick Davis seal the win by blocking Lakeside's final shot.
Davis rejected an attempt by Steven Rogers to preserve the victory and cap an evening block party for the Knights, who stuffed 12 shots during the game.
"I like to start out with a man defense, just to see what the other team has, and we saw real quick that we couldn't hang with them underneath," said Carnes, who countered with a zone defense.
While Evans had superior size, the Panthers had enough pluck to keep things close. Lakeside guards Matt Scott, Matt Josephson and Aris Verrett helped forge a 21-21 tie at the half.
John Harris hit two free throws, then added two more buckets to give Evans a 25-21 lead early in the third period. Lakeside came back, thanks to some solid screens and slick passes from the wing, plus a three-point shot by Josephson.
"Lakeside started running their offense pretty well, and we didn't do a good job defensively," Kenny said. "I think we got a little anxious and started shooting from the outside when we should have been looking in."
Neither team could gain the upper-hand in a rough-and-tumble fourth, and the game went into overtime tied at 39.
Lakeside High School's Toya Coard charges past Evans defenders Kiley Smith (center) and Taylar Stallings. Coard scored 20 points in Lakeside's 67-12 win.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Senior guard Teddy Ingram turned it on in OT, scoring six of his game-high 19 points to spark Evans. His key contribution, however, was on defense - as Lakeside set up for a final shot, Ingram deflected a pass out of bounds with only four seconds remaining.
Ingram's play forced the Panthers to take a hurried shot, which Davis promptly sent into the stands.
"Kendrick got all ball," Harris said of his teammate's heroics. "That was a great defensive play, and defense wins basketball games."
The Lady Knights, on the other hand, were defenseless against Lakeside's onslaught. Lady Panther guards Toya Coard and Nichole Bennett each recorded eight steals, which led to numerous fast-break buckets.
When Coard and Brittany Watts both hit 3-point shots to close the first half, Evans was staring at a 40-4 deficit - then things got worse.
Lakeside outscored Evans 21-0 in the third and briefly held a 63-4 fourth quarter lead.
The final 55-point margin of victory was no cause for celebration, and the final buzzer ended the agony for both squads.
"I didn't enjoy it one bit. I was kind of shocked midway through the first quarter. I was just there Friday night and I know exactly how it feels," said Lakeside coach Bill Richey, who was on the receiving end of a 62-24 spanking from the Glenn Hills Lady Spartans on Nov. 30.
"Lakeside was running a 2-1-2 trap, and their guards really knew what they were doing and took it to us," Whitfield said. "We just didn't show up mentally. You push every button you know, and sometimes you don't find the right one."
Rivalry update: Columbia County football fans need to circle a date on their calendar, as Friday, Sept. 13 is going to be a lucky day - that's when Lakeside and Evans will renew their gridiron grudge match at Blanchard Stadium.
When Evans was placed in Class AAAAA before the 2000 season, the annual Knights-Panthers battle was put on hiatus after a 12-year run. Evans and Lakeside have not faced off in football since 1999, except for a scrimmage before the 2001 season.
The Sept. 13 meeting was made possible when Region 3-AAAA coaches voted to open the 2002 season with two nonregion games. The arrangement also ensures that Greenbrier and Evans will compete for the third straight year. The Knights travel to play the Wolfpack in the season opener Aug. 30.
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