Coach Kevin Martin was a bit ambivalent about the performance of his Johnstown-Monroe High School boys basketball team on Dec. 19 against Lakewood.
The Johnnies earned a 51-42 victory, but they also let a 16-point lead after three quarters dwindle to six points in the final minute.
"I think we got a little comfortable and we were shooting a little quicker," Martin said. "We started to relax in the zone and (the Lancers) started playing harder. That can come back to bite you."
William Orr led the Johnnies with a career-high 26 points. The junior guard had eight points in the first quarter, nine in the second, six in the third and three in the fourth.
Senior forward Scott Sammons added 10 points, including six in the third quarter when the Johnnies increased a 25-20 halftime lead to 40-24.
"Defensively, we have been playing a lot of zone, but we have good length. I like where this team can go," said Martin, whose team limited Lakewood to 4-for-23 shooting from 3-point range. "I think these guys have a lot of potential and have a chance to be a really good team.
"I think we have a pretty good group. We have good athletes and we have good quickness, and we play well together."
In addition to scoring three points, sophomore guard Cody Farley had five rebounds, four assists and three steals against Lakewood.
After Lakewood cut its deficit to 46-40, junior guard Justin Bush scored all four of his points on consecutive free throws in the final 42 seconds.
"We have been struggling on free throws, probably around 50 percent this year, but we were 16 of 21 (against Lakewood)," Martin said. "It comes down to stepping up and knocking them down when it counts."
Through seven games, Orr was averaging a team-best 16.7 points and had made 17 3-pointers. He was followed in scoring average by Farley (8.7 points per game), Sammons (6.3) and senior post player Tim Sayer (5.5).
Sam Scovell, a senior guard and two-year starter, was lost for the season with a knee injury suffered during a 42-39 loss to Danville on Dec. 11. He was averaging 6.3 points.
"Losing Sam definitely hurt us," Martin said. "He was a three-year varsity player and he was a very versatile basketball player. He could come out and guard the point guard or a post player.
"He was a captain and it hurt us. We can replace what he did for us, but it will take more than one player to do that."
Wrestling team preps for Johnstown Duals
The wrestling team will play host Saturday, Dec. 29, to the Johnstown Duals.
In addition to the Johnnies, competing will be Beechcroft, Brookhaven, Chillicothe Southeastern, Grove City, Harvest Prep, New Albany, Northridge, Utica and Zanesville West Muskingum.
Last season, the Johnnies won the six-team Johnstown Duals. They finished 4-1 to tie New Albany, but won the tiebreaker by having defeated the Eagles 42-30. Their lone dual loss came to Brookhaven, 48-24.
Johnstown also defeated Beechcroft 39-8, Chillicothe Southeastern 48-36 and West Muskingum 38-12.
"We'll have a bigger field than we usually have," athletics director Nick McIlwain said. "We have a bunch of new teams to go with some of the usual teams like Beechcroft, New Albany, Southeastern and West Muskingum. We're really looking forward to it."