Sports

Boys basketball: Lakewood loses close one to Coupeville

LAKEWOOD — Winning doesn't come all at once — it's a learning process.

The Lakewood boys basketball team bore witness to that fact in a 60-58 Cascade Conference loss to Coupeville Jan. 19.

"Finishing games is something we need to work on," said coach Matt Hart. "Having the confidence to stay with it is what we're learning."

The Cougars had their chances to pull away after tying the score 53-53 with three minutes remaining, but missed free throws and turnovers kept them from gaining a lead. Even after being held scoreless the following two minutes, and trailing 58-53 with 54 seconds left, Lakewood wasn't deterred, surging back behind senior Cameron Fry's third three-pointer of the quarter to be within two points and have the ball with eight seconds on the clock.

"Cameron was keeping us going down the stretch," Hart said. "And we wanted the ball in his hands when it came down to it."

Hart noted the progress of his boys where just two weeks ago, they might have let their emotions get the best of them after relinquishing a 20-10 lead in the second quarter and falling behind by as many as seven in the second half. That did not happen, however, and Lakewood is showing what it has learned this year.

"There didn't seem to be a lot of energy in the gym for the first three quarters," Hart said. "We had to start building some momentum to get that to change."

The Cougars relied on a stingy full-court press at the start of the game to jump all over the Wolves, resulting in eight first-quarter turnovers. More importantly, the pressure also kept the ball away from Jason Bagby and Hunter Hammer, Coupeville's two scorers who finished with 12 a piece.

"We did a really good job on both of them in the first half," Hart said. "But they kind of came alive in the second."

Coupeville broke the press and started to string together scores, resulting in a 10-0 third-quarter run that lasted nearly five minutes.

"We have those periods where we can't score at all in every game and we have to find a way to get more than just a basket in a half of a quarter," Hart said.

For as much as VonPein (17 points) started the Cougars, Fry kept them alive, scoring 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.

In the middle two quarters, junior Tre' Haslom paced the Cougars with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

"We really tried to get him opportunities around the basket," Hart said. "And that worked because he scored and rebounded extremely well."

Hart also praised junior Dustin Stanton, saying he played like a senior in defending Hammer, a 6-5 post.

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