SEMINOLE — Because of a death in the family, Lakewood girls basketball coach Necole Tunsil couldn't be with the Spartans on Monday night at Osceola.
Admittedly, they missed their demonstrative leader.
"It wasn't the same without her being here," center Jenae Wilson said.
Despite that, the Spartans proved something: Even without their No. 1 motivator on the bench, they're still pretty doggone tough to beat. After a sluggish start, Lakewood rolled to a 56-35 win over the Warriors.
Monday's victory was hardly a thing of beauty.
But Lakewood (14-3), while sloppy at times, still managed to control things throughout and held a comfortable lead midway through the second quarter. Lakewood's offensive execution was far from stellar, but the Spartans won with defense and hustle. Active hands led to numerous strips, and Lakewood's domination on the boards continuously frustrated its opponent.
"They've got athletes on the floor," Osceola coach Rick Nash said. "Even when they make mistakes, they make up for it with athletics."
Wilson and Latesha Johnson led the Spartans with 13 points each.
Hannah Demarest paced Osceola (8-9) with a game-high 14 points, but unfortunately for the Warriors 12 of that total came in the second half when the game already was out of reach.
Victory margin aside, Tunsil probably wouldn't have been thrilled by the Spartans play, according to Wilson.
"She would have been upset," Wilson said. "We didn't take care of the basics."