Spartans fend off Blue Raiders, stay unbeaten at home

FELTON – Tuesday night at Lake Forest High, the Spartans rolled to a 67-56 victory over Woodbridge to move to 12-6 on the season and remain unbeaten (9-0) on their home court.

The double-digit victory avenges the Spartans’ 53-41 road loss at Woodbridge Friday, Jan. 12 and improves the team’s Henlopen South record to 10-3 on the year.

“We paid attention to the tape and I think we just realized everything we did wrong,” said senior Isaiah Morris of the January loss to Woodbridge. “That was a big loss, we knew that this one was more important. It just drove us to get this win.”

Sophomore Jaysem Vazquez led the way offensively on Tuesday, putting up a team-high 19 points. Morris added another 17 points in the team’s third straight win.

Sophomore Jaysem Vazquez scored a team-high 19 points in Lake’s 11-point win over Woodbridge Tuesday night (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

With four wins in their last five games dating back to Feb. 1, head coach Michael Starkey likes what he’s been seeing from his squad as of late.

“I like how we’re playing right now, I really do,” coach Starkey said. “These guys are starting to play what I think is their best basketball right when you want to start playing well. I feel like we had our identity kind of change right in the middle of the season. We’ve figured out who we are, and we’ve really started to settle in. We’re looking like a good team right now.”

The Spartans tipped off the game with a quick 10-0 run in the first 3:01 of the game. Leading 24-10 at the end of the opening quarter, Lake never relinquished its lead to the Blue Raiders.

Woodbridge (10-6) managed to jump back in the game in the second quarter, going on an 11-3 run in the opening 4:12 of the quarter to pull to within 27-21. The Blue Raiders out-scored Lake 20-14 in the second quarter, trailing the Spartans 40-30 at halftime.

Woodbridge senior K.J. Mosley scored 10 of his game-high 24 points in the second quarter to keep the Blue Raiders in the game.

In the third quarter, Vazquez hit a pair of three-pointers to keep the Spartans in control of the Henlopen South battle.

Senior John Forrest, with four of his nine points coming in the fourth quarter, and late free throws from Hoskins and junior Jene Sample helped close out the win.

“We just executed the plays well, we’ve been practicing these plays all week preparing for Woodbridge,” Morris said following the win. “So, we just came out here and executed everything well.”

Isaiah Morris put up 17 points in the team’s third win over the last four games (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Ever since the team’s mid-season identity shift, according to coach Starkey, the team has played a lot more unselfishly and has been able to spread the ball around more on offense.

In Tuesday night’s win, six different players scored with three players hitting double-digit point totals.

“We picked it up a lot more in practice,” Vazquez said of the mid-season shift. “We’ve been picking up the intensity every day just knowing the team we can be and the potential we have.”

The varsity addition of freshman forward Kaheim Roach has been paying off for the team on both sides of the ball, as well.

“Ever since Kaheim, the freshman, came up I feel like it’s just opened up different things for people,” coach Starkey said. “Sometimes his presence doesn’t show on the box score, but it’s opened up our shooters and it’s opened up driving lanes for Thomas and Jaysem. There’s just a lot more confidence knowing that he’s going to be around the rim and make good decisions.”

Senior Thomas Hoskins goes up for a lay-up, scoring two of his 15 points in Tuesday night’s win (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

With two regular season games left on the schedule, Lake Forest is looking to finish strong in hopes of earning the opportunity to host a first-round playoff game.

“We’re just focusing on playing as hard as we can,” Morris said. “We haven’t gotten to host a playoff game in I don’t know how long, so that’s really what’s driving us right now, to win these last two games and put on a show for these fans.”

Lake Forest will host Appoquinimink (13-6) in its last home game of the season Thursday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. Next Tuesday, Feb. 21, Lake will wrap up the regular season schedule with a road game at Seaford (10-7) at 6 p.m.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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