By Lisa Byers
February 27, 2013 7:00 a.m. ERIE —
It’s been quite a year for the Lakeview boys basketball team.
First, Casey Greggs etched his name into the books, becoming the first boys player to score his 1,000th career point since 2002. Then, Dalton Boggs followed suit, scoring his 1,000th career point the very night head coach Gary Burke picked up his 200th career win.
On Tuesday night, the Sailors added yet another incredible feat to its season resumé.
Lakeview used a dominant first half performance in a 59-46 win over Mercyhurst Prep in the District 10 Class AA semifinals at the Mercyhurst Athletic Center.
The win earns the Sailors a spot in the District 10 championship game for the first time in program history. Lakeview will face Region 2 rival West Middlesex for that title at a date, site and time yet to be determined.
The Sailors have also guaranteed themselves a spot in the PIAA state tournament for the second year in a row.
“No other Lakeview boys team has ever done this,” Lakeview junior guard Zach VanDusen said. “We’re ready to do this and we’re ready to get the first win. We’re excited.”
Though Lakeview (21-3) has accomplished so much this season, the Sailors, going into last night’s game against the Lakers, still felt as though they weren’t getting much respect throughout the district.
Needless to say, the Sailors felt strongly last night that they had something to prove. And they wasted little time letting Mercyhurst know it.
Mercyhurst (16-8) did take the initial lead on a dunk by Alex Borges just a minute into the game. But with 4:33 to play in the first half, the Lakers left Dalton Boggs unguarded beyond the arc. Boggs made them pay and knocked down the long-range jumper to put the Sailors up 8-5.
Lakeview never trailed from there.
“I have to be honest,” Burke said. “We weren’t very happy that we had to make the trip the whole way up here (to Mercyhurst University). And we kind of used that for fuel for the fire.
“I thought the kids really responded well in the first half. You have Dalton knocking down some big shots and being able to go to the hole and that was big for us. We didn’t think there was anyone over there wearing green that could stay in front of Dalton.”
Boggs wound up with 16 points at the half. Mercyhurst scored just 15 as a team and found itself down 32-15 at the break.
The game did get a bit interesting in the second half. The Lakers opened the half with a 7-2 run to climb to within single digits (34-25). Mercyhurst had that deficit down to at least 10 points seven times, but each time the Sailors responded.
In fact, with just under three minutes to play, Carl Anderson pulled the Lakers to within 10 at 49-39. On the next possession, Coty Gander hit a free throw. He missed the second, but Casey Greggs cleaned up the glass and Brandon Rice eventually put the ball in the hoop to put the Sailors up 52-39 with 2:13 to play in the contest.
“We ask for our guys to do things that other teams aren’t willing to do,” Burke said. “We have Casey going out and running around the floor like a crazy man at times and that was inspiring for the other guys.”
All six players who saw the court for the Sailors had a role in the victory.
Greggs and Boggs led the team in scoring with 22 points apiece. Greggs also added six blocks, four assists, six rebounds and eight steals, while Boggs added three steals, six assists and nine rebounds.
Then there was Gander, who had the task of guarding Mercyhurst’s big man Alex Borges. Gander kept Borges in check under the hoop all night long. Borges did finish with a team-best 15 points, but the majority of those shots were from long range.
VanDusen did what he has done all season. He quarterbacked the Sailors’ defense and got some big help from Austin Rice. Brandon Rice had nine points.
“Borges had to have gotten the majority of his points from 21 feet away,” Burke said. “He had to step up to get his points. That what Coty is all about. We challenged him to be physical and to be strong (last night). He just had one heck of an effort.”
The result of it all is a District 10 title game berth.
“We thought we had a chance to win a league championship,” Burke said. “We knew it was going to be tough going against (West) Middlesex. And if it weren’t for Middlesex coming up to double-A this year we would have won a league championship and gotten a little more respect throughout District 10.
“But we’ll take our 21-3 record and happily go down and tangle with Middlesex one more time. We knew when we lost to them the last time that if we got to face them one more time, it was going to be a good thing for Lakeview basketball.”