Deer Lakes finds its rhythm in win over Ford City
Deer Lakes has found its rhythm — literally.
Bouncing around the locker room pregame to their favorite new song, the first-place Lancers came out firing Tuesday night and posted their fourth straight win, 69-54, over visiting Ford City.
The win gives the Lancers (11-5, 5-1) a one-game lead over Apollo-Ridge in Section 1-AA.
Since playing The White Stripes' “Seven Nation Army” before games, the team is 4-0.
Credit songs — or sound, fundamental team play from eight seniors — Deer Lakes is doing something right. The team rode a hot start and hit 24 of 44 shots (55 percent) Tuesday.
“It fires us up; it's kind of become our team song,” said Lancers senior guard Tim Jaczesko, who scored a game-high 22 points, all in three quarters. “We have been focused because we know every night is going to be a battle.”
Jaczesko, who had 45 points in a game earlier this season, hit 8 of 13 shots.
Cody Keenan added 11 points, and 11 players found the scoring column for the Lancers.
Deer Lakes was sharp despite making a road trip Monday to Ohio for an exhibition game.
“These guys can't play enough games; they want to play every day. I told them to forget that we played yesterday and that we're in first place,” Deer Lakes coach Jon McKay said. “They repaid me with an 18-5 first quarter.”
As for the song, the coach isn't turning down the volume any time soon.
“Whatever works,” McKay said. “Some teams have T-shirts, the Steelers have their Terrible Towels. We have this song.”
McKay also has found interest in his “3 Count,” a poster on the wall above the student section that keeps track of the team's 3-point baskets. That number is up to 110 after six 3s last night.
“They had a big first quarter, and we had to play catch-up,” Ford City coach Greg Hutcherson said. “Their shots fell and ours didn't. It's tough when you get down like that.
“The thing about Deer Lakes is their guys know their roles. Tim and J.J. (Kowalkowski) are going to do their thing. But the guys around them know what the team needs them to do.”
Ford City (4-12, 1-6), which only lost, 53-43, in the teams' first meeting, never threatened this time. Deer Lakes took a double-digit lead at the end of the first quarter on a 3-pointer by Kowalkowski and never let its lead get below 12 again.
An 11-0 run in the second quarter made it 22-7. The lead reached 58-32 after three quarters. The teams went to their benches in the fourth.
Sabers guard Jesse Sequeira had a big third quarter with 11 points, and he finished with a team-high 18. David Lattanzio added 14, including nine in the fourth.
Bill Beckner Jr. is the Local Sports Editor of the Valley News Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.