Lakeview gets season started with rivalry win

Tribune Chronicle / Jamie Trina Lakeview’s Jeff Remmick shoots against the defense of Champion’s Chase Wheelock Friday night in the Bulldogs’ win.

CHAMPION — Not much went well for Champion on opening night. It started with the announcer not getting the starting lineup correct, and continued into the game, which Champion lost, 57-37, to Lakeview.

The Flashes played admirably, but the offense just could not produce to keep up with Lakeview. The Bulldogs’ goals coming into the season included working on quality shots and team defense. They did both well on Friday night.

“Our defense really helped us out tonight,” Lakeview coach Ryan Fitch said. “I knew if our defense held tight and we defended a little bit, that eventually we would start scoring. Eventually we would get some shots.”

Both teams played good defense in the first half, but Lakeview managed a 13-5 run to catch the momentum. Lakeview held a 25-19 lead at intermission.

“We missed some open looks early,” Fitch said. “I give credit to Champion, the defense that they ran tonight slowed our motion down a little bit. It was good for us, because we saw some things we need to work on.”

Tribune Chronicle / Jamie Trina AJ McClellan (10) of Lakeview passes around Champion’s Cole Elza Friday night at Champion.

The second half is when Lakeview began to pull away. The edge went to the Bulldogs thanks in large part to senior guard AJ McClellan. His 13 points in the fourth quarter led the Bulldogs to a 21-point quarter. McClellan ended the night with a game-high 23 points.

“I was controling the offense, slowing it down and making sure we were getting good shots, and letting my teammates do their thing too,” McClellan said. “My teammates were holding the ball and looking for screens. The three ball clicked in the second half.”

Jeff Remmick joined McClellan to lead the offense for Lakeview. He finished the night with 16 points. The two of them made a strong duo for the Bulldogs.

“Jeff is a leader for us on the floor, and does a lot of things well out there,” Fitch said. “AJ is our point guard, and he makes us go, he is our motor. Those two guys together, when they are playing well, I have a good feeling when I look up at the end of the game.”

In addition to solid offense, Lakeview continued to keep Champion under control offensively. The Flashes managed only 19 points in the second half, while Lakeview countered that with 32 points.

Tribune Chronicle / Jamie Trina Lakeview’s Daniel Evans (1) looks for a teammate as Champion’s Austin Wilforth (22) defends.

“When we ran motion, we were getting it to the high post,” McClellan said. “We held them pretty good in both halves on defense. I feel like our defense and our zone offense really worked tonight.”

Moving forward, it is one game at a time for Lakeview in a competitive league.

“Our league is extremely brutal,” Fitch said. “From top to bottom. It is extremely brutal, and when you look down the league, I can’t look much further than Tuesday night.”