Defense helps men topple Raiders
By Brodee Gillam
After showing flashes of great play on both sides of the ball, the LCC men’s basketball team brought it all together against Oakland CC on Nov. 22.
The Stars beat the Raiders at home 100-84, with freshman Zhervonte Smith leading the team with 34 points off the bench.
Smith said as the season goes on, he is gaining more and more trust in LCC Head Coach Mike Ingram.
“I’m just listening to coach,” Smith said. “Coach is putting us in the right positions and teammates are getting me the ball, then I do what I do.
“We need to start listening to coach more. … The man’s a winner. He knows what it takes. We’ve just got to listen to him.”
Even with Oakland’s full-court press causing the Stars a bit of trouble, LCC still put together the best game it has played this season.
The Raiders press forced the Stars to be more aggressive, leading to 19 LCC turnovers. Despite the high number, Ingram said he is not worried about the turnovers.
“It’s really hard to cut down on the turnovers against a team that presses the whole game,” Ingram said. “We had also started a couple guys that hadn’t played a lot before also, and I think six or seven of those turnovers came in toward the end of the game.”
Sophomore Max Walz had his second double-double in as many starts and looks to be the presence in the paint that the Stars need. Walz scored 19 points on 11 shots and had 10 boards against the Raiders.
Ingram said Walz has elevated the Stars’ play during his two games starting at center.
“I think the thing that has helped us the past two games is we started … Max (Walz),” Ingram said. “He’s put up some huge numbers and hopefully he’ll continue to do that. I think that we’ve been playing great defense, but we hadn’t been getting the rebounds.
“So now (by starting Walz) we’re getting the rebounds and we’re getting some inside help also.”
Freshman Darious Young and sophomore Josh Horford both had a significant impact in the win as well. Young scored 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds and added four assists.
Horford, who had 10 points and nine rebounds, said once the Stars lock up on defense, it will be hard for teams to beat them.
“Our strengths are scoring and just using our energy on defense,” Horford said. “When we play defense, teams don’t want to mess with us. But we got to be consistent with it.”
The Stars next scheduled home game is Wednesday, Dec. 13 against Mott CC at 7:30 p.m. in the Gannon Gym.