ST. PETERSBURG — There are times when Lakewood's fastbreak offense goes too fast, which causes rushed shots, errant passes and missed opportunities. So Spartans coach Anthony Lawrence Sr. stressed execution at practice over the past few days.
It all came together against Seminole on Thursday in the first round of the Northeast Holiday Tournament.
Anthony Lawrence Jr. and Jared Gregory stepped back and buried 3-pointers. They also slashed to the basket for layups. The passes were crisp. The turnovers were few, and the opportunities to score points in bunches were there.
The result was a 69-49 victory for the Spartans.
"We've been working real hard on having greater execution on offense," Lawrence Sr. said. "It can be controlled chaos at times on offense.
"But we have a lot of guys that put the ball in the basket, and I thought we did a lot of good things out there."
Lakewood (11-1) took control from the start as Lawrence Jr. and Gregory swished 3-pointers to help it go up 11-5 in the first quarter. By halftime, Lakewood was ahead 32-22.
The Spartans added to their lead in the second half and were up by 20 for most of the fourth quarter.
Gregory finished with 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Lawrence Jr. had 20 before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Lakewood has managed to get off to a fast start despite not having Jacobi Boykins, who fractured his neck in a car accident two months ago.
But Lawrence Sr. said Boykins could be cleared to play next month.
"That would be big for us," Lawrence Sr. said. "But we've been playing well as a team.
"And we had a goal coming in to win this tournament, and this was the first step."
The Warhawks could be without Matt Cassity for the rest of the tournament.
Cassity, the team's leading scorer, was called for two technical fouls against Lakewood and could be suspended for the next two games. There was no timetable for a decision.
The Spartans play Boca Ciega in a semifinal at 8:30 tonight.
The Pirates (12-1) beat Clearwater 69-59. Boca Ciega was led by Dallas Moore, who scored 33 points, including six 3-pointers. His performance came after scoring a combined 83 points in three games at last week's Bright House Tournament.
"It's been the Dallas Moore show, but we can't just be a one-man team," Pirates coach Randy Shuman said.
"We're not hitting on all cylinders right now."
Tampa Prep faces Wharton in the other semifinal at 7 tonight.
The Terrapins (12-0) beat host Northeast 78-46. It didn't take long for Tampa Prep to take control. The Terrapins led 20-14 after the first quarter and were ahead by 38 at the start of the fourth. Josh Heath led Tampa Prep with 17 points.
The Wildcats (11-0) withstood a late rally to beat St. Petersburg Catholic 53-50. SirPatrick Reynolds had a team-high 14 for Wharton. Through three quarters, the Wildcats led 42-34. The Barons, led by Ryan Green (20 points), outscored Wharton 16-11 in the fourth but fell short.
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org