Full-court press, up-pace tempo fuel Lake View in blowout victory over Marine Leadership Academy

John Alfes
Medill Reports

The Lake View High School men’s basketball team stormed out to an 18-1, first-quarter lead, applying a full-court defensive press and an up-pace offensive tempo before cruising to a 59-27 rout of Chicago’s Marine Leadership Academy Bulldogs on Wednesday.

Following a rhythmic sequence of pesky defending, crisp passing and high-percentage shooting in the first half —  culminating in a 45-15 advantage — head coach Mike Davis provided substantial court time for his second- and third-string players in the one-sided home game.

Senior guards Tyrek Warren and Coby San Juan paced the first unit with 11 and 10 points respectively, while senior forward David Thomas lit a spark off the bench with a game-high 13 points.

Thirteen different names tallied at least two points for the Wildcats.

“Just being able to pressure in the full court, have our defense creating our offense from there,” Davis said of the early outburst. “At the get-go, it was finally good to see the kids jump out to an early, double-digit lead within the first couple minutes of the game.”

Whether it was a hard-nosed drive to the hoop by Warren or a soft-touch jumper by San Juan, the points piled up in bunches for Lake View’s starting backcourt. Once the bench toed the hardwood, Thomas made his presence felt with a flurry of baskets to give him 11 points in the first quarter alone.

David Thomas (center) led all scorers with 13 points, making an immediate impact off head coach Mike Davis’ bench. (John Alfes/Medill)

“Just having a scoring mentality to wreak havoc on the floor,” Warren said. “A lot of the points I got were from defensive steals, passes from my teammates that stole it as well.”

Aside from the scoring prowess of Warren, San Juan and Thomas, the Wildcats manufactured such a large lead courtesy of Davis’ 1-2-1-1, full-court press. Shaka Smart, the head coach of the University of Texas men’s basketball program, runs the same defensive formation.

By emulating its strategy off a Division I coach, Lake View effectively swarmed the opposition’s passing lanes and pried the ball loose on numerous occasions. Smart’s havoc defense has been a trademark since his coaching tenure began at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009.

“I call it ‘12,’ it’s a 1-2-1-1,” Davis said of the way in which his players align on defense. “Kind of like a havoc (defense), as Shaka likes to call it. Just being able to pressure that first pass, and as soon as that pass gets over — if it ever gets out — just being able to trap and rotate.”

The second half was brief, as the two teams combined for just 26 points. The Illinois High School Association implemented a new rule ahead of the 2018-19 season, stating that the game clock will continue to run throughout the final quarters if a team leads by 30-or-more points. In this case, the pace-of-play initiative was in effect.

Junior guard Zyon Evans earned playing time throughout the Wildcats’ winning effort, notching two points and two rebounds at home. (John Alfes/Medill)

“I feel like it’s nice because the starters get to relax,” Warren said of sitting out the entirety of the third and fourth quarters. “The bench did their thing and they got to flourish and do what they do.”

Next, the Wildcats will play Northridge Preparatory School at home on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Photo at top: Tyrek Warren (center, with ball) elevates above the defense to score two of his 11 points on Wednesday evening for Lake View High School. (John Alfes/Medill)