Lakeside's boys basketball team got off to a terrible start in 2007. Now they're one of the hottest teams in the Augusta area.
Lakeside pulled off a 51-38 win over Harlem on Tuesday for the Panthers' fourth win in a row. After losing four straight games to start the season, Lakeside improved to 4-4 with the victory.
Lakeside boys basketball coach Ryan Morningstar said the winning streak is a direct result of a learning experience associated with the losing streak.
"We put the expectations up pretty high to start the season, and I think the kids were humbled a little bit by that start," he said. "Now since they've had to go through that, they're not satisfied now with these wins. They want even more."
The Panthers looked dismal at the Columbia County Tip Off Tournament after suffering losses to both Greenbrier and Harlem on Nov. 19 and 20.
Less than a month later, Lakeside avenged both losses with back-to-back wins to its Columbia County rivals. The Panthers appeared unstoppable in a 20-point victory over Greenbrier last weekend. On Tuesday, a strong zone defense made the difference in a 13-point win over Harlem.
Both wins came at home and made positive statements to validate a growing Panther program.
"This win (over Harlem) is just as big as Friday's win (over Greenbrier)," Morningstar said. "This one showed that the Greenbrier win wasn't just a one-time deal."
Lakeside's boys will enter the 2008 portion of the season having already matched, if not exceeded, their win total from four games from last year.
The 2006-07 season, Morningstar's first as a head coach, was nothing to brag about, but the past two weeks have been the opposite at Lakeside.
Morningstar credited his team's defense for the change.
"I think it's the defense. I told the kids the offense will come, but you've got to make sure you're playing defense," he said. "The kids' communications skills are making the difference on the defensive end of the floor."
Junior guard Rosbie Mutcherson led the team with 20 points against Harlem. Fellow guard Cody Marsh added 11 points, while senior Jared Ackerman chipped in nine points.
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