Lakeside basketball entered into a new era Saturday. First-year head coach Ryan Morningstar led the Panthers for the first time in a pair of scrimmages at Greenbrier.
"Overall, we did better than I expected for the first time," Morningstar said after his Panthers beat Greenbrier in overtime in the first game and lost 56-38 in the second.
Scheduling conflicts with classes that Morningstar is taking to complete his master's degree in education have kept the Lakeside team from competing in the Columbia County summer league Tuesday nights.
Morningstar said he recognizes the importance of playing basketball in the summer and scheduled scrimmages on Saturdays.
"This is what they need. We're going to be young this year, but this group of kids wants to work hard," Morningstar said. "The expectations I'm going to set for them is going to be high."
Greenbrier boy's basketball coach Casey Dees used a mix of junior varsity and varsity players Saturday. Dees is the only coach whose team has played against all three other Columbia County public schools this summer. The initial verdict: basketball in the county this winter will be competitive.
"Across the board on any given night anyone can beat anybody," Dees said. "I've seen a lot of improvement all the way around."
While Greenbrier, Evans and Harlem continue to play one another on Tuesday evenings through June, Lakeside will stick with individual scrimmages and workouts. Morningstar said the summer competition is too important to leave out completely - especially when trying to jump-start a basketball program that will welcome back only one player with varsity experience.
"The last couple of years we haven't been able to get a good number of kids to participate in the summer program," said Morningstar, who has served as Lakeside's junior varsity boy's basketball coach for the past four years.
"These younger kids coming up realize we have to do it."
Morningstar said another scrimmage with Greenbrier is tentatively scheduled for late June or early July.
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