Posted On: 02/7/20 9:52 PM
The Pinellas County Championship (PCAC) is always a fun environment to be around.
On Friday night, Lakewood defeated East Lake 57-50 in front of a sold out crowd and a loud gym. The Spartans (21-4) took down the defending PCAC champions in a game that was just a four-point lead for Lakewood with under four minutes left.
Up 23-9 early in the second quarter, Lakewood came out firing while East Lake made it interesting down 29-21 at the break. It was a single-digit affair the rest of the way and Lakewood simply hit more shots.
Here is a look at some notes from the matchup:
Tampa is a superb athlete
Watching 2020 6’2″ guard TJ Tampa hoop is super enjoyable. The Iowa State football commit is a leaper and someone who can jump out of the gym. He had a team-high 17 points which included back to back dunks in transition in the opening quarter. He’s not just a dunker as Tampa hit key jumpers down the stretch and kept East Lake’s defense off balance. Lakewood is set up to make a deep run in the postseason and if Tampa can deliver games like this, the Spartans should continue to flourish.
Blanch continues to flourish
Containing 2020 6’3″ Murray State signee Dionte BlanchDionteBlanch6'4" | SGEast Lake | 2020State#215NationFL for a full game is beyond tough. He had a game-best 26 points including 16 in the second half as the Eagles cut into the deficit and hung around in the game. Blanch took the ball up the floor with power and confidence and didn’t stop battling until the final buzzer. He hit 1-of-2 free throws to trim the Lakewood lead to just four late, but East Lake fell short. Blanch is a true battler and his energy will help his squad make a push in the playoffs, after falling to Lakewood Ranch in the region final last February.
Reynolds is a matchup nightmare
A major reason why East Lake couldn’t muster many points inside was the presence of 2020 6’10″ UCF signee Jamille ReynoldsJamilleReynolds6'9" | PFLakewood | 2020State#199NationFL. The steady big man ended the night with 13 points which included five late in the first quarter. He found himself in foul trouble in the second quarter and that is when East Lake marched back in the game. However, in the second half, Reynolds made life hard for the opposing squad, blocking shots and simply holding his ground and not allowing much by him.
Key shots came from Delancy
2021 6’5″ guard Oteman Delancy was crucial as a shooter in this one and his ability to slash was on display as well. Tonight, his jumper was on point as he added 15 points which featured three 3’s. His final points came on a 3 near the end of the third quarter from right in front of his team’s bench to put his group ahead by nine points. Delancy has nice length, foot speed and can handle the ball. As a two-guard, he’s peaking at the right time.
Bonus note: 2020 6’2″ guard Elijah Jackson and 2021 6’ guard Anthony PerkinsAnthonyPerkins5'11" | CGLakewood | 2021StateFL each had four points in this game. Both guards move the ball around with purpose and are completely bought into the Lakewood offense and speed attack.
Gabrelcik & Hillmon compete
The points didn’t come in bunches for East Lake outside of Blanch, but the effort was there. The Eagles kept up with Lakewood’s speed for much of the game and battled defensively. 2021 6’3″ guard Dean GabrelcikDeanGabrelcik6'4" | CGEast Lake | 2021StateFL had 12 points on four 3’ while 2020 5’9″ guard Jordan HillmonJordanHillmon5'7" | CGEast Lake | 2020StateFL finished with nine points. Gabrelcik had a pair of 3’s in the third quarter, the first trimming the deficit to just three points at 34-31, the closest East Lake was in the second half. As for Hillmon, he didn’t hit at a high clip from deep but he never stopped grinding. His 3 to open the fourth quarter made it an eight point game.
Bonus note: As for 2022 6’1″ guard Noah Chatman, he had no points but his speed is undeniable as it seems like he’s never tired. His maturation will be something to follow. 2023 6’ guard Henry Hurst had three points and was a load defensively doing as much as he could.