Deer Lakes knocks off Springdale for sixth win
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Only four Deer Lakes players hit the scoring column on Thursday night.
But that was enough as the 6-2 Lancers continued their strong start with a 41-29 victory over Springdale in the school's holiday tournament.
Tim Jaczesko scored 20 points and pulled down six rebounds, and J.J. Kowalkowski added 11 points, four assists and four steals to lead Deer Lakes.
The Lancers will play Kittanning (8-0) tonight in the tournament final at 7:30, while Springdale (1-6) takes on Avonworth in the consolation game at 6.
Deer Lakes already has exceeded its victory total from last season (4) under first-year coach Jon McKay.
“Things are going well; having eight seniors has been tremendously important,” McKay said. “They had a very focused summer and made a goal at the end of last regular season to get to a certain point, and they've achieved it.”
With the score knotted at 24-24 with less than three minutes left in the third period, Jaczesko made a pair of 3-point field goals, and the Lancers were on their way.
“That's the beauty of having Tim,” McKay said. “You can draw up all the X's and O's, but when he makes shots, he makes us all look smart.”
Springdale coach Seth Thompson, an assistant at Deer Lakes until about 18 months ago, is quite familiar with the Deer Lakes personnel.
“Deer Lakes is a decent team,” Thompson said. “They're small, but they can all handle the ball. They can all dribble, and they can all shoot the ball. Suffice it to say, they'll be a playoff team from their section.”
One factor working against Springdale is a tough schedule. The six teams the Dynamos have lost to have a combined 35-11 record.
What's also hurting Springdale is scoring droughts.
On Thursday, the Dynamos went without scoring from the 2:01 mark of the third period until Charlie Guy hit a 3-pointer with 2:25 to go. Deer Lakes was in command by then.
“We're playing great defense, and I think most opposing coaches will agree,” Thompson said. “This is the second team we've held in the 40s, but we're having trouble putting the ball in the basket. We'll be all right, it just comes with practice.”
Deer Lakes played without starters Zach Bryner and Tim Cresta, both sidelined with the flu. They are expected back Friday night.
McKay, however, was pleased with replacements Kevin Begley and Adam Fredley playing the wing positions well. Deer Lakes committed just three turnovers in the first half.
Guy led the Dynamos with 14 points. He made a shot from near half court to beat the second-period buzzer.
George Guido is a freelance writer.
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