Lakewood Christian head coach Will Holiman was worried about rust as it was the season opener.
However, any rust the Lions (1-0) had, they were able to do enough to shake it off on their home floor Thursday. Lakewood welcomed Haileyville for the season opener. The Warriors (0-1) played the Lions tight through certain points of the night, trailing, 15-13, at the end of the first quarter and 48-39 after three.
However, Lakewood was able to take care of business down the stretch. Junior Rodrick White scored seven of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring Haileyville as a team combined that quarter. The Lions emerged victorious, 60-45.
"We've got to pick it up defensively, offensively, we'll keep going as the season goes along," Holiman said.
He said the team was able to pull away from Haileyville by making shots and going to the hole more. Holiman also said the team was pushing a lot of shots from downtown, making five 3-pointers on the evening.
One of the things he said the Lions need to do a better job of is keeping their hands off of people. Lakewood totaled nine second half fouls, though Haileyville was not able to capitalize, shooting 0-of-4 as a team at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors made sure to push in the first quarter after trailing by only two. Freshman Brian Hauck drained a bucket from behind the arc to bring it to a 15-13 deficit after one. White got the opening bucket of the second quarter to extend Lakewood's lead to 17-13, but Haileyville pushed again with 6:05 remaining in the half, as sophomore Noah Hauff made both shots of a one-and-one at the free throw line for a 17-15 game.
Sophomore Noah Hurst's bucket made it 19-15. It was one of two shots he made in the quarter. The tandem of White and freshman Adante Holiman totaled seven and six points, respectively, in the second quarter, while Haileyville scored only eight as a squad.
Freshman Delton Cloud and senior Andrew Alverson helped propel the Warriors in the third quarter with six points each. Alverson paced the Warriors with 14 points in the game. Haileyville could not capitalize in the fourth quarter despite trimming the deficit under double digits after three.
The team also saw Hauck go down to injury. New head boys basketball coach Roy West said after the game that Hauck sprained his ankle. He was laying on the team bench on Lakewood's bleachers afterward, with ice on his left foot. Hauck had to be carried out of the building following that.
Haileyville will have a week to prepare, as the Warriors are scheduled to welcome Lakewood for a rematch Nov. 8.
Coach Holiman won't in charge Friday, as he is taking his son, seventh grader Adonis Holiman, to the CP3 National Middle School Combine in Winston-Salem, N.C. that is scheduled to run this Friday through Sunday. Assistant Anthony Salyers is set to be the team's acting head coach on Friday.
Coach Holiman said he is hoping Adonis Holiman gets both Lakewood and himself some exposure at the camp.
The Lions are scheduled to travel to Schulter for Friday's game.
"I think they'll do fine," Coach Holiman said.