Mark Evans (TB file photo)
BY NICK JOHNSON
Times Bulletin Correspondent
MIDDLE POINT - The Lincolnview Lancers, seeking their first win of the season, travel to Lima to take on the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds in boys basketball on Saturday night.
The Lancers come into the matchup with an 0-2 record after losing to Wayne Trace and Van Wert in the Van Wert Hospital Tip-Off Classic. The Thunderbirds come in with a 1-1 record after dropping the first game of the Elida tip-off classic to Elida and winning the second game against Lima Shawnee.
LCC and Lincolnview are both playing in their first Northwest Conference game of the year. LCC is looking to extend last year's undefeated record in-conference, while the Lancers look to start off the year with a bang knocking off last year's first-place finisher.
"They are extremely talented. I got a chance to watch a couple of their games. They are pretty guard-oriented. They've got some talent that comes back from last year's team. The two games I watched them on film they are pretty good and it will be another good test for us," said Lancer coach Brett Hammons.
Being early in the season, neither LCC nor Lincolnview has really shown much on either end of the court. "They are going try and use their quickness to push the ball up the floor and get easy baskets. The key thing they like to do is get the ball up the floor to get their players easy shots on offense. On defense they like to pick up full-court man-to-man. They like to mix it up with full-court man or a diamond press, so we have been preparing for both," noted Hammons.
Both the Lancers and T-birds like to do many of the same things. "We are guard-oriented as well. I think it will be a good matchup for our kids to see where they stand as a team. I'm looking forward to see if our kids are prepared and I'm ready for the challenge that is coming our way," added Hammons.
The Lancers learned a lot from two tough games last weekend. "I found out we have the capability after our first two quarters in the first second games, we are right there in those games. We are playing pretty well we just have to work on being more consistent, and I knew that would be process with the new transition. But the one thing I saw is that they would not give up, we were struggling to make shots after our first two games. We are getting good looks, but hopefully they will start to fall for us. They are willing to play hard and they won't give up," said Hammons.
Coach Hammons preaches improvement every day at practice. "They have been pretty good. I always tell them that we need to improve, and the first three practices this week I have seen improvement in the team. Since games have started, practices during the week have been shortened but the guys are still giving good effort and coming prepared. I told them there is still a long way to go in the season and we have some things to work on, but as long as we keep improving we will always have a chance. So, that is the thing we are focusing on and they have done a good job battling back and keeping a positive attitude," said Hammons.
The Lancers need to improve their second-half performance from the first two games if they have any hope to beat the T-birds. "We have to play to our strengths and play to our tempo. I think we tried to play a different style than what we are trying to teach our kids, so we just need to stay with our style. Keeping the consistent play through the whole game and that is what we are looking forward to doing in this game," finished Hammons.