LAKE PLACID - In its first game against McKeel Academy this season, the Lake Placid boys basketball team lost in an 89-85 barn burner.
On Tuesday night, Lake Placid played well for 27 of 32 minutes, but a five minute lapse to start the second half resulted in a 60-52 loss in a Class 4A-District 9 game.
The loss dropped the Green Dragons to 1-9 on the season and 0-5 in the district, while the Wildcats improved to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the district.
"We just panicked, we are missing some key players and it makes a big difference," said Lake Placid boys basketball coach Dan Coomes. "Those guys have experience and leadership qualities and will show on the floor when they are healthy. But right now we are trying to find ourselves, the kids played and executed well offensively early, but we had that five or six minutes in the third quarter where we did not do anything."
Lake Placid played a tenacious defensive game holding McKeel Academy to only one point in the first five minutes while building a 6-1 lead.
But McKeel showed it can score points in a hurry as they made four unanswered baskets in less than two minutes to take a 9-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Green Dragons responded in the second quarter as they held the Wildcats scoreless for over five minutes and scored 10 successive points for an 18-9 lead.
Marcil Sholtz scored eight in that run and Lake Placid enjoyed a 23-15 lead at the half.
"We expected a tough match," said McKeel Academy coach Terry Jenkins. "We just did not come out ready to go. We knew they were going to give their best effort, they always do and they are a tough team. We got the win, but there is a lot we need to improve on."
For two five-minute periods in the first half, Lake Placid held McKeel to only one point. The Wildcats turned the table on the Green Dragons in the first five minutes of the second half as they held them to only three points while scoring 21.
McKeel scored the first seven points to cut Lake Placid's lead to 23-22. Scott Colley, who had a game-high 19 points, drilled a 3-pointer from the baseline to give Lake Placid a momentary reprieve and extend the Green Dragon lead to 26-22.
Lake Placid's offense went scoreless the next three minutes and McKeel Academy went on a 14-point run, including a pair of 3-pointers by Michael Black, as the Wildcats stormed to a 36-26 lead.
"We did not change a lot at the half," said Jenkins. "I just told them to play harder, they did not give their best effort in the first half and that is what happens."
The Green Dragons did not fold their cards though as they clawed their way back to within five points of the Wildcats, outscoring them 10-5 over the last couple of minutes to trail McKeel after three quarters, 41-36.
Defense too a holiday in the final quarter as McKeel kept up the scoring tempo and Lake Placid tried to keep up. Though the Green Dragons scored 16 in the final quarter, the Wildcats locked up the win with 19 as they beat Lake Placid, 60-52.
"It was not the turnovers that hurt us," said Coomes. "It's high school and you are going to have turnovers, it is where we had the turnovers. We did not get into the offense for five minutes (to start the second half).
Not counting those five minutes, Lake Placid outscored McKeel 49-39.
"That happens with high school kids sometimes, especially when five of your six top players only have one year experience and the other has two," the Green Dragon coach said.
Coomes noted that he was not pleased in that most of the mistakes the team made were mental errors and he believes the team is better than that.
"But that's my fault," said Coomes. "I have to come up with ways to get that across to our kids. It's not their fault, they gave the effort, I have to come up with a way to get them to do the things that we need to do."
Lake Placid travels to Frostproof tonight to play the Bulldogs in another district game.