Hitting the restart button since the holiday break hasn’t produced the same results for Lawrence boys’ basketball, which lost for the fourth time in six January games last Friday night, 67-50, at Conference A5 rival Clarke.
“The score is a little deceptive, but a loss is a loss,” Lawrence head coach Lou Robinson said. “We fell behind 12-1 and were chasing the scoreboard all night. We did what we set out to do which was stop their top two kids from beating us. To Clarke’s credit, others stepped up.”
The Golden Tornadoes (5-3 in A5, 9-6 overall) played without senior Tyler Bowers, who had a conflict with a track meet, and were led by senior Dexter Robinson’s 20 points and junior Avery Folawiyo’s 17. Clarke’s James DeSimone matched Robinson’s total and the upstart Rams got 18 from Jack Hollywood, who averages about half that number, and a season-high 10 from Alex Kouyoudjian.
“DeSimone got his share but I thought we did a really good job containing him and [Tammyson] Emile,” coach Robinson said. “We spent an hour at practice working on beating Clarke’s press. We didn’t execute perfectly, but we also didn’t struggle with it. It did force us into taking some quick shots I’d rather not see us take.”
The Golden Tornadoes, who defeated the Rams in the first meeting 58-51, slipped into third place in the conference but still appear in excellent shape to secure a spot in the Class A playoffs.
“It was a big game for second place and a better seed, but it’s not like we can’t jump up and we only need one more win to make the playoffs,” coach Robinson said. “We have to work hard to get results. We’ve been inconsistent and need to find our way back how we were playing prior to the holiday break.
“We had no games over break and struggled to have a full practice with everyone there,” he added. “We’ve had moments, but we haven’t played a particularly strong game in January yet.”
With testing week here, Lawrence has only one more opportunity to close the month with a bang. It hosts Valley Stream South this Friday at 7 p.m. “We have another week off to recharge,” coach Robinson said. “Testing week isn’t easy on the kids.”
Dexter Robinson leads the offense averaging a shade over 14 points per game and has been a rebounding machine as of late. “Dexter’s our top scorer but there’s a nice balance,” the coach noted. “We have a bunch of guys averaging at least 6 points and three in double figures.”
Bowers and Folawiyo are averaging 11 and 10.5 points, respectively, and sophomore Nahmire Young posted some strong games in December. Folawiyo has become more comfortable by the day at point guard, the coach said.
The efforts of Robinson and senior big man Marquez Martin, who usually gets first call off the bench, is crucial to the team’s success. Martin is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game.
“We’d like to get this next one for many reasons,” coach Robinson said.