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Dragons boy's basketball lose to Phoenix, but beat back Wildcats



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December 18, 2013 - By Riley Holder

Review Staff Writer

The Lake Orion boys' varsity basketball season kicked off last week with a pair of games.

The season opener came at home on Tuesday against the Pontiac Phoenix, followed by a Friday night matchup against the rival Oxford Wildcats at Oxford.

After a back and forth game against the Phoenix, with only 10 seconds remaining, the Dragons trailed 55-53. Lake Orion had the ball and was inbounding from half court with a chance to either tie or win the game. The Dragons turned the ball over however, which was the team's 28th turnover of the game.

"It was a mental mistake, it happens. I thought the play we had drawn up was going to work. It was unfortunate. It was one of those kinds of things where someone made a mental mistake, and it cost us. But, it was a learning experience, and it won't happen again," Coach Tom Risi said.

Lake Orion quickly fouled Pontiac once they got the ball back in hopes of extending the game. However Pontiac drained both free throws to effectively end it.

Junior Miles Hardy hit a deep, contested three pointer in the final seconds for the Dragons, however it was too little too late, as Lake Orion lost, 57-56.

"Obviously it was a tough loss. It was the first game of the year, and we didn't play well. It was a tough loss to take," Risi said.

Looking to rebound from the tough loss against Pontiac, Lake Orion headed into Oxford on Friday night hoping to make a statement. After giving away the lead in the fourth quarter, the Dragons went on a late run and closed out the game, winning by score of 63-56.

"It was a good victory for us. Obviously the crowd was into it. We had great, great fan support. It was a great environment to play in. We battled hard. We have four kids who are starting for us who haven't really played a whole lot of varsity basketball, so they're kind of growing up on the fly. The team showed a lot of character losing the lead and coming back and winning at the end. We only had 16 turnovers [against Oxford], which, from 28 [against Pontiac] down to 16 is a nice improvement. We're hoping it gets even better from there," Risi said.

Lake Orion has been without 6'5" senior John McCarty for both games, who has been on the varsity team since his freshman season and was one of the team's captains last season. McCarty expects to be back in the lineup sometime in February.

"With John being hurt and not playing, that's a big hole to fill. We're trying to work with some different combinations of kids to try to get the best team we can on the court and fill that void," Risi said.

Lake Orion's next game is December 19 against Birmingham Groves. The game will be their last before the holiday break.

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