ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood's boys basketball team won its second game of the season with a come-from-behind 60-50 victory over Northeast on Friday.
But the win did not give Spartans coach Dan Wright his record-setting 675th career victory.
That's because the game was missing one key figure: Dan Wright.
The longtime Lakewood coach decided not to coach Friday so he could he watch his son graduate from Florida State University.
Dwight Latimore, the Spartans junior varsity coach, took Wright's place with the varsity.
"In my 15 years coaching with the program, I can remember Coach Wright missing only one other game, and that was because of pneumonia," Latimore said. "We were prepared for this. It was nothing new. Coach Wright has been grooming me for this for a while."
Early on, it seemed as if the Spartans would have to wait just to get a win. The Vikings (2-3) erased a 13-12 first-quarter deficit by outscoring Lakewood 21-12 in the second quarter.
"The key to the game was making sure we minimized the turnovers and not let Northeast get easy baskets," Latimore said. "We had to play to our strengths and create the extra pass and look for the open shot."
By applying pressure on defense and slowing things down on offense, the Spartans (2-1) got back into the game. Mike Singleton capped a 19-9 run for Lakewood by knocking down a 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter to give the Spartans a 43-42 lead.
Lakewood led the rest of the way as its defense forced turnovers. The Vikings were called for technical fouls in the second half that the Spartans converted into points.
Northeast's Andres Sanchez led all scorers with 22 and was the only Viking in double figures. Singleton had 16 points and Frezell Roux had 15 to lead Lakewood.
Wright can pass former Gibbs coach Freddie Dyles as Pinellas County's all-time leader in wins when the Spartans play Dixie Hollins on Tuesday.