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Lambert bench shines in blowout victory against West Forsyth
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Caleb Kassa (13) knocked down a first quarter buzzer beater and had two assists Friday. - photo by Brian Paglia

Lambert never held its breath Friday night in a dominant 90-35 win over rival West Forsyth at home, as mass substitutions were the story in the first quarter as the bench opened up a 25-7 lead on an 11-2 run, and through the rest of the game.

Once the final buzzer sounded, as Lambert’s last man on the floor Carter Augustine hit a layup off an assist from Musa Thompson, 18 of the 20 players on the Longhorns’ roster had recorded a positive statistic. Everyone played except for starter Ross Morkem, who missed the game with an injury. The bench players even outscored the starters, 49-41.

“We dressed 20. Everybody on this team plays their heart out, comes to practice every day and really competes, so I really wanted to reward all of the guys on this team for their efforts on the court in practice,” Lambert head coach Scott Bracco said. “I’m glad everyone was able to contribute tonight.”

Lambert (11-0, 7-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) hasn’t faced much adversity to this point in the season. In fact, they’ve averaged a 27.29-point margin of victory in region play, with a lone outlier being a seven-point overtime win against Chattahoochee. The 55-point win against the Wolverines (2-8, 1-6) eclipsed the season-best total of 42 set last weekend against Centennial.

There were teaching moments. Bracco called many timeouts on his accord to coach his younger group on the floor, while also giving stern guidance to the most hesitant youngsters to step on the floor. At the end of the game, he felt like his entire team continued to grow.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to work with the younger guys during a really intense game situation,” Bracco said.

Without Morkem, Connor Mannion led the Longhorns with 13 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block, while Andrew Melms added nine points, Tanner Hall and Austin Deckard had eight and subs Harrison White and Hunter Furlong contributed with seven points apiece.

Lambert also had three buzzer-beating shots in the game. Aside from the final basket of the night, senior Caleb Kassa knocked down a mid-range jumper as time expired in the first quarter, giving Lambert a 29-11 lead, and White knocked down a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to set a 51-19 halftime advantage.

For the Wolverines, head coach Jake Dickey hopes his team has a short memory. Unlike Lambert, which doesn’t play against until Dec. 28 against McEachern, West will get back to work with a tournament game against Central Hardin (Cecelia, Ky.) on Monday.

“We just have to regroup. There are no excuses,” Dickey said. “They’re really good and we weren’t really good tonight, so we’ll just shake it off and go to the next one.”

West sophomore Joseph Fretas led the Wolverines with eight points, while Seth Davis contributed by hitting all three field goal attempts to finish with six points.