By Steve Powell
MOUNT VERNON – Seniors have led Lakewood’s boys basketball team all year, but it was a sophomore who has seen more and more playing time as the year progressed who led them to an impressive come-from-behind win over Franklin Pierce Saturday.
Blake Conyers came off the bench to score a team high 13 points to lead the Cougars to a 53-49 win over the Cardinals. Junior Shae Dixon and senior Alex Jensen added 10 each.
As a result, No. 12 Lakewood will play No. 4 Lindbergh in the 2A Hardwood Classic Wednesday in Yakima. It is the school’s first trip to the SunDome.
It looked like Franklin Pierce would run away with it as they took at 16-4 lead early as the Cougs had trouble against the Cards half-court trap with their taller guards. But then Lakewood toughened up its match-up zone and rebounding to get right back in the game with a 13-0 run.
Dixon hit a 3 and scored off a fast break, and Jared Taylor hit a 3 then scored on a steal and layup to make it 20-15 after one period.
The defense really stiffened in the second quarter, holding the Cardinals to five points. On offense, Conyer hit a 3, Jensen stole the ball and converted the layup, and Jackson Schultz hit a 3 to make it 25-25 at intermission.
Franklin Pierce continued to struggle on offense in the third, being outscored 19-10.
Jensen and Dixon hit 3’s then Morgan Stacey passed to Conyer on a fast break for another bucket. Conyer hit two more 3’s, and Morgan scored an old-school three-point play to make it 44-35.
After Schultz hit a 3 Franklin Pierce went on an 11-0 run to tie it at 47-47 with 3:01 remaining. During that stretch it seemed like everything that could go wrong did for Lakewood – including three traveling calls, turnovers and some bad shots.
Morgan’s two free throws with 2:45 left stopped the drought.
Then, with 2:14 left, in what was probably the play of the game, Jensen hustled after a loose ball and threw it off a defender’s leg. Conyer converted a bucket to make it 51-47. After a call finally went Lakewood’s way with 31.8 seconds left when Morgan drew a charging foul, Franklin Pierce was forced to foul. Jensen made two free throws to clinch it with 19.2 seconds remaining.