Lakewood’s youngest player made the difference.
Eric Foster made three of five free throws in the last 15 seconds as Lakewood beat Redstone’s 12-and-under Rockets 32-27 Thursday. The 10-year-old finished with 18 points on four 3-pointers.
“No pressure,” Foster said of his clutch free throws in the Youth Center.
Asked how his team won, he replied “teamwork.” And asked how he felt afterward, he said “Good.”
Lakewood coach Eric Foster, his father, laughed when told of Eric III’s postgame responses.
“He’s 10 years old. He’s the youngest one out there. He’s in fourth grade,” the coach said.
Camron Pryor had six points and 11 rebounds for Lakewood (2-0). Comas Jones Jr. made four assists and four steals.
“Moving the ball around, getting open looks, taking good shots,” Foster, the coach, said of the keys to the win. “Controlling the game. Smart decisions.”
Jalen Venter had 17 points, 10 rebounds and three steals for Redstone. This was the Rockets’ first loss in six games but they beat Metro 37-30 in Thursday’s nightcap.
Lakewood led 13-6 after one quarter, 16-8 at halftime and 20-19 after three quarters. The score was tied 27-all with 30 seconds left. But three free throws by Foster and two by Pryor finished the scoring.
“First half we started out slow and our big (center Venter) didn’t show up till the second half,” Rockets coach Johnnie Irby said. “So we started out in a slump because that was a big presence missed in the middle. But after we settled down and started playing defense, we started getting easy buckets which made the game a very exciting ending. We just came up short.
“Kids played hard and games like this is the reason I coach.”
Rockets 37, Metro 30: Jalen Venter had 14 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the day.
The Redstone center also had three steals for the Rockets (6-1). Braylon Lawson added eight points and six rebounds.
“I think we played well,” Venter said. “I just kept shooting bad shots when I should’ve been going in (closer to the basket). And also when we get rebounds we need to start hitting the backboard (for putbacks).
The score was 13-13 after one quarter. Metro (3-3) led 20-19 at halftime and 24-22 after three quarters. Jerriel Alexander had 11 points and Chad Robinson added nine for the visitors.
“We didn’t rebound well,” Metro coach Johnathan Alexander said. “We got outrebounded and they played harder.”