Back-to-back losses by no means signal panic time for the Lambert boys, but the Longhorns needed to get back on track with the Region 6-AAAAAA tournament fast-approaching.
The Horns, after a double-overtime loss at Alpharetta last Friday, didn’t bounce back the way Scott Bracco wanted in a loss at Centennial on Tuesday.
Friday night, though, Lambert held West to four first-quarter points and led by 22 at halftime as the Horns breezed to a 69-39 road win.
“We responded tonight the way I was hoping and the way I challenged them to do,” Bracco said. “We just played with great energy and intensity. It’s something that we didn’t have this past Tuesday and I wanted them to bring it tonight.”
Andrew Melms returned from a sprained ankle suffered in the first quarter at Alpharetta, an injury that kept him out of Tuesday’s game, to lead Lambert (18-5 overall, 13-3 Region 6-AAAAAA) with 12 points. The sophomore point guard’s value has never been in question—Melms has started most of Lambert’s games—but his poise on the ball was missed against two athletic teams last week, Bracco said.
Patrick Noble and Ross Morkem each added 11 points for Lambert. Noble, Will Craven, Grant Lancaster and the Horns’ other wing players should see more minutes down the stretch with junior guard Tre Bell lost for the season with a torn ACL, an injury suffered during a 5-on-5, full-contact drill in practice Thursday.
West (10-12, 6-10) trailed by six early in the second quarter, but, as the Wolverines would come to find out, Lambert will punish even the briefest of lapses. Melms bookended a 10-0 run with a layup and 3-pointer, Tanner Hall (five points) and Trevon McSwain (four points) added layups and Morkem hit one of two free throws. Just like that, Lambert led, 25-9, and the Wolverines could never recover.
“They put pressure on you right out of the box,” West coach Jim Cook said. “It forces you out of your comfort zone—your spacing is off, your rebound positioning is off, and they’re very good at capitalizing on that, for sure.”
Jimmy Staiti and John Peterson paced West with eight points apiece. Freshman Joe Freitas and Cam Macer each added five.
Cook said the Wolverines had already put Friday’s loss behind them. West has a chance to set a school record for wins in a single season on Tuesday night at South Forsyth.
Lambert boys 69, West Forsyth 39
Lambert 12 23 24 10_69
West Forsyth 4 9 11 15_39
Lambert: Melms 12; Noble 11; Morkem 11; Mannion 7; Hall 5; Gatlin 4; McSwain 4; Viti 4, Craven 4; Morris 3; Kassa 2; Thornton 2.
West Forsyth: Staiti 8; Peterson 8; Freitas 5; Macer 5; I. Magee 4; J. Magee 4; Beatty 3; Thompson 2.