Lakeview opens season with 3 straight wins

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 11:47 am on Monday, December 22, 2014

LAKEVIEW — The Lakeview Wildcats boys basketball team had a season to remember a year ago.

Typically, topping a season with that much success — 20 wins and and a district title — would be a definite challenge. At 3-0 this season, the Wildcats are optimistic and confident they can do just that.

With returning starters like Nate Shurlow, Caleb Ruvalcaba and John Zuluaga-Torres, the Wildcats have the experience to repeat last season’s success.

“It’s a big advantage over some teams to have three starters back,” Lakeview coach Mike Schreiber said. “Having a couple of new faces is a lot better than having just a couple of players with experience.”

On Tuesday, the Wildcats defeated Newaygo 65-49. Ruvalcaba led Lakeview with 16 points. Trevor Bacon chipped in 13 and Shurlow 11 points.

“With Torres, Shurlow and Ruvalcaba, they have been on varsity for a while,” Schreiber said. “When their game is on together, the whole team gains confidence. They know what it takes to make us win.”

It was a quality, early season win over the Lions.

“In the past two years, in four games against Newaygo, the biggest point spread has been five points before Tuesday,” Schreiber said. “We’ve always had a war with them it seems.”

Lakeview did lose starters Shawn Lindsey and Brad Hamlin. Despite returning three starters, the Wildcats offense has struggled with efficiency.

“We are struggling more offensively,” Schreiber said. “We are scoring some points right now, but our shooting percentage is down from a year ago. Part of that is getting the guys, who are stepping into bigger roles, more comfortable.”

As always, the Lakeview defense has been stout. A relentless, in-your-face defense forces other teams into turnovers and poor shot selection.

“We have to play defense to win, that’s for sure,” Schreiber said. “We’ve actually had a couple of pleasant surprises defensively. Last night (Tuesday), our sixth man Ben Outman had a big defensive game and had nine rebounds. In some ways, we are quicker defensively, than we have been.”

Schreiber credits Bacon in the middle for helping with the defensive success.

“My big man Trevor Bacon has really helped,” Schreiber said. “At 6-7, if we do get beat, they still have to shoot over the top of him. Trevor has been much quicker and agile than he was last year. He has really improved his game.”

Lakeview will host White Cloud tonight in its final game before the holiday break.

“We are not passing the ball well right now. We had 19 turnovers on Tuesday,” Schreiber said. “Most of those turnovers were our fault. We have to fix that in a hurry.”

Lakeview’s first game in the new year will be on Jan. 6 at home against Chippewa Hills.

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