For a South Lakes High boys’ basketball team that entered the season with little returning varsity experience from a year ago, victories were not expected to come easy. But the Seahawks have shown steady progression over the winter and, despite carrying a less than glamorous 6-9 record going into this week, remain upbeat about what can be accomplished over the final month of the season.
“I think we’ve played as well as expected,” said Irv Greene, who is sharing head coaching duties with former South Lakes player Jon Kemmerer. “We’ve had some inconsistent play in several games. But I think we’ve gotten better with our defensive pressure and knowing when to turn it up a notch in a game. We’ve gotten better in our execution of the offense.”
South Lakes snapped a two-game losing skid with a 51-42 home win over Liberty District opponent Madison last Friday night, Jan. 22. Joe Daye, a junior guard who attended Herndon High last school year before transferring to South Lakes, scored a game-high 19 points in the win. Darius Smith, also a junior guard, and Ramin Shaheedian, a senior guard and the Seahawks’ most experienced player from last year, both scored nine points. South Lakes built a 27-14 halftime lead and went on to the win – there third district victory to four losses.
“I think our overall defensive play got us going early,” said Greene, whose team led 16-10 after one quarter before holding the Warhawks to four second quarter points.
South Lakes won despite making only five-of-18 foul shots in the game.
Shaheedian, averaging eight points per game, will play a key role in how the Seahawks fare over the second half of their district schedule. The 6-foot-1 inch Shaheedian broke out for 23 points, along with pulling down seven rebounds, in South Lakes’ recent 67-64 district toad loss at Fairfax on Jan. 15.
“He’s our most seasoned player and we’re hoping to get the most out of him down the stretch,” said Greene.
Daye, meanwhile, has been a key addition to the Seahawks’ line-up. The 5-11 junior, who is a nephew of coach Greene, is leading South Lakes in scoring with 13 points per game.
“He is a scorer,” said Greene. “He’s been able to catch the ball and shoot right away. He’s also improved on defense.”
Smith is averaging 11 points and four assists per game. In recent weeks, he moved to point guard and has excelled in that role.
“Darius is doing a fantastic job,” said Greene. “He’s the most athletic player on the team. He’s good at penetrating, dishing off and scoring. Now that he’s got four or five games under his belt [at point guard] he is playing a lot better. He knows when to push it and, if it’s not there, to slow it up.”
<b>IN THE FRONTCOURT</b>, senior center Kevin Ball, a standout football lineman who did not play basketball last year, has given the Seahawks a positive inside presence. Ball is averaging six points and six rebounds a game.
“He’s given us real solid minutes,” said Greene, of the 6-4, 250-pound inside player. “He’s given us a whole lot from a guy who didn’t play last year. He’s just a solid kid who knows his role.”
Greene said the Seahawks have struggled to put together four consistent quarters of play.
“If we do that we could see different results in the second half of [the district schedule],” he said.
South Lakes’ district wins have come over Jefferson, McLean and Madison. This Friday night, the Seahawks will be at home against Jefferson.