NEW CASTLE — Lake Forest High had a response to William Penn’s first big run of the game.
It was the Colonials’ second run which put the Lake Forest boys’ basketball team in too tough of a position.
William Penn used a strong close to the second quarter to eliminate 20th seed Lake Forest from the first round of the state tournament on Wednesday night, 55-29.
The Colonials, the tournament’s 13th seed, will travel to play at fourth-seeded Woodbridge on Friday night in the second round.
William Penn scored the game’s first 10 points to quickly build a double-digit lead. But after being held scoreless for the first six minutes, the Spartans eventually closed within five early in the second quarter.
That’s when the Colonials ended the quarter on a 16-2 run.
“I think when they went on that next run, that’s a big hole to dig out of on the road,” said Lake Forest coach Mike Starkey.
It was the first tournament appearance for Lake Forest since 2011.
The Spartans wrapped up their year at 12-9 — its best record in the last 10 years.
“I’m proud of them for that,” Starkey said. “We said we don’t want to get here, we want to get here and be a problem. But we didn’t present as much of a problem as I would like to. I’m proud of them for getting here and I want to see them work hard this offseason so we can get back to that.”
Senior Cam Lewis paced Lake with 13 points.
The Spartans were missing their top-scorer junior Isaiah Morris.
“I never imagined I would come to this stage without our leading scorer,” Starkey said. “But you got to deal with it. All year long we’ve kind of gone as he goes, but that’s not an execuse because we just got out-played.”
Lake Forest will graduate three seniors from this year’s squad in Lewis, Kyle Hammond and Saleem Roach.
Starkey, who helped make Smyrna a state tournament contender in the 2000s, is only in his second-year at Lake Forest since deciding to return to coaching after taking a few years off to spend more time with his family.
“We’re in the process of changing the culture,” Starkey said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve been on this stage. We had a little stage-fright with certain pieces. I think we’re continuing to try to chase some of that culture out. We want to get back to this stage.”
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