Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lakewood girls have right blend of everything

Jenae Wilson, who averages more than 10 points, says the Spartans benefit from having played together for a while.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Jenae Wilson, who averages more than 10 points, says the Spartans benefit from having played together for a while.

ST. PETERSBURG — On the surface, Necole Tunsil might not appear to be the best spokeswoman for offensive balance. She was, after all, the star who averaged 25 points for Lakewood when it won the 1989 state basketball title.

But, as Tunsil readily admits, she had plenty of help that season.

In fact, when asked if the Spartans would have won it all without some type of balance, she shot back, "Absolutely not."

Two decades later, with Tunsil at the helm, Lakewood might have its best squad since the '89 group. A major key again is offensive balance, but there's one significant difference.

This unit lacks an individual scoring machine.

To Tunsil, though, this is not a problem; it's why the Spartans have been so tough to defeat.

"I've had so many teams that had 20-point scorers, and the best we could do is reach regionals," Tunsil said.

At last check, the Spartans (9-1) had four players — Tianah Alvarado, Kayla Roberts, Taye'lor Trotter and Jenae Wilson — who average 10 or more points, though none averages more than 12.5. A fifth, three-year starting point guard Latesha Johnson, scores nine a game and averages a team-high six assists.

Entering play today at the Lady Tiger Invitational in Fort Myers, the Spartans are scoring 72 points per game, ranking them among the county leaders. Only two opponents, area powers Clearwater and Boca Ciega, have held Lakewood to under 50. The Tornadoes defeated Lakewood 54-49 on Nov. 20, but the Spartans beat Boca Ciega 49-45 two weeks ago.

In the latter, four Lakewood players hit double figures.

"It's fun to watch," Tunsil said of Lakewood's scoring balance.

And even more difficult to defend.

How do you scheme to stop an offense that can hurt you from any position?

"If one of us is down, we know we have to pick up the slack," Johnson said.

The truth is, any of the Spartans' top performers could be more prolific scorers if they wanted to be as each certainly has that ability.

But individual accolades don't seem to be a goal for any member of this group.

"Out mind-set is to just win," Johnson said.

Lakewood's scoring balance exists in large part because each of the team's leading scorers is versatile, each brings something unique to the table (the 6-foot-2 Wilson is an imposing inside force who will play for Jacksonville University), and as a unit they have tremendous chemistry.

"We've been together for years," Wilson said.

Added Roberts: "We know how each other plays."

Since that special squad's run 21 seasons ago, Lakewood has not advanced beyond the third round of the playoffs.

Tunsil isn't one to make predictions, but her instincts tells her that trend could break in a few months.

"I like this team," Tunsil said.

Lakewood girls have right blend of everything 12/23/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 11:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  2. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  3. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  4. A buzz-worthy look at the Astros-Dodgers World Series matchup

    The Heater

    Houston Astros' Yuli Gurriel is congratulated by Jose Altuve after scoring during the fifth inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) TXMG170
  5. Florida, FSU try to ignore death threats, angry fans

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Frustration over uncharacteristically down seasons at Florida and Florida State has started to spill over from message boards and start crossing real-world lines.

    Fans watch the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. At the half, Florida was up 10 to 3.