Camdenton had a “tall” order to contend with in Friday night’s Courtwarming battle with the Parkview Vikings.

Camdenton had a “tall” order to contend with in Friday night’s Courtwarming battle with the Parkview Vikings. 

The Lakers had a slight size disadvantage on the floor and it was that size, length and athleticism that eventually took its toll on the home team in a 77-46 loss to the Vikings. 

“We are not going to ever match up with them physically so we have to try to beat them as far as our effort, getting our hands on passes and disrupt whatever they are trying to do. Make it difficult for them to do anything and we did that in the first half after the 9-0 run to start the game,” Camdenton coach Craig Campbell pointed out. “We did that for two-and-a-half minutes in the third and then they were able to get some runouts (fast breaks). That is where they play well is if they can transition. We did not do a good enough job stopping that in the third quarter and they were able to build a lead.” 

One of Camdenton’s tallest players, 6-foot-5 senior Paxton DeLaurent, missed his fourth straight game due to injury and hopes to return by the district tournament. The Lakers have one other player in freshman Aaron Page listed at 6-foot-5 and then it comes down to 6-foot-4 junior Parker Garrett and fellow 6-foot-4 senior Treyvor Watson. Meanwhile, Parkview has at least five players listed over 6-foot 3 including the 6-foot-7 Trevon Brazile and 6-foot-5 Ja’veo Toliver who were both commanding presences around the basket.  

Facing an early gap, Camdenton trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half and began to work its way back, cutting the deficit to as little as six points on a few occasions before trailing 36-28 at the break. All seven Lakers who scored in the game were already on the scoresheet and senior Drake Miller fueled the early going with eight points by halftime while junior Joel Mason put up seven. 

“The boys fought and we had a decent first half. I think we missed eight layups or shots right around the basket,” Campbell recalled. “If we make half of those, it is a tie ballgame. In the second half I told them we had to weather the storm in the third quarter and we were able to do that for two minutes and kind of fell off. I probably should have done a better job subbing in the third to keep fresh legs out there, but the guys out there are playing well and I did not want to disrupt that too much.” 

Parkview managed to extend its advantage to as many as 17 points and then an 18-4 run to start the fourth quarter did not make things any easier for the Lakers. Overall, the Vikings forced 20 Laker turnovers on the evening.

Miller led the Lakers with 14 points on the night and Mason finished with nine while senior Brandon Pasley added seven. DeLaurent was averaging 18 to 19 points a game for Camdenton before he was sidelined and in the senior’s absence, Campbell has been looking to see who will step up and make up for that kind of production. 

“Our first game nobody really knew who was going to score for us,” Campbell said of the first game DeLaurent previously missed. “Next game we did a little better and I could kind of put it on those two (Miller and Mason) to put the ball in the hole because they were the ones who were able to do that prior. They needed to step it up and add more to their average and it was nice to see them able to do that a little bit tonight.  

“Probably took some shots that were not the greatest at times, but that happens. High school basketball, if everyone takes a perfect shot every time that would be amazing,” Campbell continued jokingly. 

Even with the size disadvantage the coach told his players after the game that if they could continue to play defense the way the Lakers did in the early going, it would not matter who the opponent was. 

The next opponent for Camdenton (4-18, 1-5 Ozark Conference) is West Plains and the Zizzers will come to town Tuesday night. The Lakers will finish up the regular season at Waynesville on February 21 before districts the following week and looking ahead, Campbell said there should not be a team like Parkview in that district tournament. 

“We battled back and made it a ballgame. As long as we keep working and building that way, we can make some noise come district time,” he said.  

“Biggest thing is building and just trying to be as good as we can be going into districts. Work on chemistry together, playing hard and doing what we want to do on defense and offense and executing. If we can do that, we’ll be alright.”