Evans High School's Sherrel Parks (left) and Lakeside High's M. J. Trahan battle for a loose ball during last Friday's matchup. Lakeside
easily won the game 53-24.
Photo by Jim BlaylockThe decibel level was high last week in Evans High School's gymnasium, where the Lakeside and Evans basketball teams staged their first battle of the 2002-03 hoops campaign.
The Lady Panthers cruised to a 53-24 win in Friday's opener, while the Knights notched a 53-36 victory in the nightcap.
The outcome was particularly sweet for Steven Rogers. He has played for the Panthers the past two season, but transferred to Evans for his senior year.
"It was great. That was the funnest game I've ever played in," Rogers said. "Last year the Evans fans were yelling and screaming at me. This year they were pulling for me."
Lakeside's fans greeted Rogers with some good-natured taunting, offering chants of "Traitor" and "Mama's Boy," but no one crossed the line. "After the game, my mom told me they apologized," Rogers said.
For Lakeside coach Richie Carnes, the energized atmosphere highlighted what the heated rivalry is all about.
"That's the way it's supposed to be," Carnes said of the boisterous fans. "That makes it fun for the players. I wish every game was like that."
Evans coach Kevin Kenny might feel the same way about what transpired on the court.
While Josh Jennell (14 points) and Kenny Garnett (11) led Evans offensively, the Knights pulled away with a total-team effort, from scrappy inside play by Ricky Crawford and Hank McCladdie, to a slew of assists from John Harris, to strong rebounding by Tanis Maynor and stifling defense by Chance Smith.
Evans High School's Ricky Crawford blocks a shot by Lakeside High's Philip Sadler during last Friday's game. Evans won 53-36.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"We got contributions from everyone that played, whether it was a defensive play, rebounding or hustle," Kenny said.
The girls game was decided quickly. Lakeside senior Toya Coard poured in 21 points in the first quarter, and finished with 28.
The Lady Knights committed 26 turnovers to Lakeside's five; that disparity led to the lopsided final score, but Evans coach Tim Whitfield wasn't discouraged.
"I see a lot of improvement over last year," Whitfield said. "We have a lot of young players, but they are very coachable."
The Lady Panthers, meanwhile, return only one starter this season, Coard, but feature a host of athletic players, including guards Kim Leeds and Jamie Lake, and post players Molly McFerran, M.J. Trahan, Brittany Barden and Meghan Lloyd.
"This team is going to hustle and get after it," Lakeside coach Bill Richey says. "Win or lose, they're working together and they're trying hard."
In addition to the win over Evans, Lakeside also beat Butler last week. Although that contest at Butler was a non-region game, it could be a sign that the Lady Panthers can survive in rugged Region 3-AAAA this season.
"We've tried to set some goals for ourselves," Richey said. "One goal is trying to be the best team in Columbia County. Our next goal is to compete in the region, and we'll see if we can realize that after Christmas. The region is incredibly tough."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.