With the first game of the new year on Tuesday, the Lakewood Leopards faced the Rosewood Eagles at home, losing 83-56.
With an intense first quarter, the Leopards started the game strong. By the first two minutes the score stood at 7-4 with Lakewood only three points away from tying their opponent. A sunk shot and free throw tied the game at 7-7 then the Leopards pulled ahead of the Eagles 9-7.
The score rose to 13-11 before the quarter ended then went to 13-13, setting the game back to neutral grounds.
While holding a lead for much of the second quarter, Lakewood was on the receiving end of a surprise by the Eagles, who rallied back and ended the half with a 32-24 advantage.
Despite an impressive final shot from halfway across the court as the buzzer sounded, Lakewood was now standing at 58-45 with their initial eight-point disadvantage now at 13. Despite fighting hard, Lakewood was behind 22 points with only three minutes left on the clock toward the eventual loss.
“We still have some work to do with defense and rebounds,” said coach Todd Wheeler. “Defense is our main focus going forward. I think that’s the key to us improving.”
Lakewood will have the chance to test that Friday against Union on the road, weather permitting.
The Lakewood Leopards have now lost nine straight games putting them at 0-9 overall and 0-1 in their conference play.
Reach Chris Froat at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @SampsonInd.