Chase Dupps enjoyed the Watkins Memorial High School boys basketball team's practice last Tuesday so much he stayed nearly 90 minutes late.

Chase Dupps enjoyed the Watkins Memorial High School boys basketball team's practice last Tuesday so much he stayed nearly 90 minutes late.

Never mind that the Warriors had just picked up their first victory of the season a day earlier by defeating Lakewood 69-61.

"I noticed the intensity. It really picked up," said Dupps, a junior guard. "So I stayed after to practice my shooting."

That's the attitude second-year coach Erin Woody is looking for from his three captains. The others are 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Kevin Crawford, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds in last Monday's victory, and senior Brady Small, who has become one of the team's best defenders on the perimeter.

"It's the little things that count, you know, like sprinting to get a drink of water," Dupps said. "We're always working extra after practice or coming in early on a Monday morning for a shoot-around before school. Those are the kinds of things we have to keep doing if we want to get better."

It can only help that the Warriors, who were 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Delaware last Friday, already have been rewarded for their diligence. Their first and only victory last season came on a last-second shot in a 57-56 win over Franklin Heights on Feb. 12.

"That was our 17th game, I believe," Woody said. "Hopefully, this is something we can build on. We have to keep raising our level of play."

Another positive stemming from the victory was that the Warriors pulled it off at less than full strength.

Thomas Osickey, a sophomore guard, didn't play after he suffered a broken toe during an 85-40 loss against New Albany on Dec. 10. He is expected to miss two to four weeks, Woody said. Tyler Lepper, a 6-4 senior, has yet to play after he suffered a broken collarbone in the first scrimmage, although Woody said he might be cleared to return sometime this week. Dupps struggled with a bad ankle sprain earlier in the season as well and didn't make his first start until the New Albany game.

"The injuries are just something we have to work through," Woody said.

In the meantime, the Warriors are left with few options other than to make adjustments. They turned to a full-court defensive press in the second quarter against Lakewood after falling behind 24-13 and outscored the Lancers 56-37 the rest of the way, which included a 26-11 fourth-quarter advantage.

Taylor Fuss knocked down a 3-pointer for a 62-59 lead with 2 minutes, 6 seconds remaining while finishing with a season-high 14 points. Zach Lescalleet, a freshman point guard, made four free throws down the stretch and scored 11 points for his season high, too.

"Our captains, they're really playing well and doing all the little things you expect," Woody said.

"The other guys are following their lead."