By Kyle Gregory
The Cavalier boys basketball fired on all cylinders Tuesday night as Lake Travis routed Akins 64-42.
“This was a much better performance than times before,” senior Stefan Vidovic said. “These past weeks have been kind of rough; losing to Austin High really didn’t help us. We came out tonight on fire. Everybody played well … I’m really proud of everybody.”
The win comes at an opportune time for the Cavaliers. Lake Travis (22-9, 8-3) is currently playing catch-up to Anderson (8-2) for first place in District 15-5A. Should the two teams finish with identical records, Lake Travis would hold the advantage in the tiebreaker. Eeverybody’s ready. I know we want the district title more than them because they have it in their lap right now. I know we want it more; it’s killing us.”
Lake Travis mauled Akins (20-9, 5-5) from the get-go. The Eagle offense failed to penetrate the Cavalier zone and the majority of Akins’ 3-point shots missed their mark and ended up in the waiting arms of Lake Travis’ Vidovic and Henry Castner.
From there, the speedy Cavalier offense made short work of the Akins’ press through effective passing and efficient shot selection. Rebounds and turnovers allowed the Cavs to score in bunches, as in the final minutes of the quarter when Jordan Manse and Vidovic combined to score seven points in three tidy possessions. The Eagles were unable to adjust in the second quarter and Lake Travis went into the half up 31-15.
“They’ve got those big kids that they like to play and we’re mostly quick guards, so we just ran it to them,” Vidovic said. “I really think that we won with ball movement … Everybody was unselfish and passed the ball.”
Manse led the team with 16 points, including three 3-pointers. Vidovic finished with 12 and Castner with 10 points as the Cavs cruised to victory.
“Our defense was better than normal,” Luke Hutton said. “As long as it starts on the defensive end, the offense will take care of itself. We played a matchup zone, and the first time we played them they hit 11 3s. We worked on it, and this time we were really conscious of where our man was and closed out on the shooters. Whenever a big guy would get it, we’d just have people go down and scrape it out and make him take a tough shot.”
Akins’ offense was most effective when they stopped trying to work around the zone and instead sped up their defensive attack and tried for fast breaks. The strategy was unsustainable, as the Lake Travis offense adjusted and was able to break Akins’ press.
“Akins puts a lot of pressure on you,” Lake Travis coach Clint Baty said. “The points where they started scoring we were doing a little too much dribbling. The points where we were scoring were when we passed the ball and moved without the ball. Our guys are good passers. They just can’t rely on the dribble to get out of some of those pressure situations.”
The Cavaliers poured on the points in the second half. It was a team effort, with seven different Cavs contributing baskets.
A 48-27 fourth quarter lead allowed some of younger Cavaliers to get into the game, where they continued the scoring onslaught against a reeling Akins.
“It’s always good when everybody’s sharing the basketball, and nobody cares who’s getting credit,” Baty said. “When we’re playing unselfishly we’re as good as anybody right now.”
The Cavaliers travel to Del Valle for their final district contest Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s tough not have control and have the district title in our hands,” Hutton said. “We lost to some teams that we really should have beat, but that’s just part of the game. We’re real confident about the way the season is going and we can’t wait for playoffs. We’re playing our best basketball right now and this is when it matters most.”
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