Lakewood Rangers Basketball--Thanks For The Memories
All good things must come to an end. On March 7th, at the classic Elyria Catholic Gym, the Lakewood Rangers (16-9) Basketball season did just that in the District Final at the hands of a richly talented Lorain team. After Lakewood stormed back from an early deficit to briefly take the lead in the second quarter, the Titans found their rhythm and eventually pulled away in the 3rd quarter. Never again will we see Nate Mims dominate a game with slashing drives and stifling defense, nor the hustle plays of Matt Bohurjak and Max Budzar. Dante Wahba's 3-point bombs, Antonio Crockett's clutch plays and Chris Brown's silky drives are a thing of the past.
If you were fortunate enough to attend many of their games this season--I missed only one--you would have seen a team that got better every week, that played tenacious team defense, that always played their best in the 4th quarter. There were special moments--too many to recount here.
My favorites were going into Midview (SWC Champs) and in the Sectional Final and beating them in over time, shocking state ranked Medina (GCC Champs) at home (clutch free throw by Antonio), an earlier win over Midview on a Pete Patsouras buzzer beater, also in overtime, and a come from behind (down 12 after 3 quarters) win at Elyria Catholic. Any basketball fan could appreciate these exciting games.
As a teacher, my favorite moments were watching all the starters cheer on senior Corey Canant and Finnish exchange student Konsta Karanen when these non-starters would get playing time. One Heartbeat/One Lakewood.
Some of these guys will play in college, all of them will play in men's/rec leagues, etc. For Coach Alex Cammock and his staff, who did a terrific kob this year, next year's squad should be exciting, with returning stalwarts Junior Pete Patsouras and Sophomore Riley Ulitz joining a talented JV team (18-3). But never again—and you can't go back—will these seniors play with kids they grew up with, in front of their long-time friends, for the hometown team.
As time goes on, here's hoping the sting of the final game loss will give way to the memories of being part of a wonderful season, to pulling some huge upsets (Medina), being the only team to beat Midview on their home floor, sweeping Avon, etc.
Come to think of it, some good things don't end—like the comforting memory of representing the Purple and Gold with heart and pride, or the many friendships formed in the crucible of high level competition. These will endure for a lifetime and prevail over any temporary disappointment. Despite the loss, not one student left after the game—they all stayed to watch their friends get the Runner-Up Trophy. That memory will mean a little bit more with every passing year.
The final game "loss" was more than anything a celebration of community-based high school athletics, where your neighbors and middle school pals are your teammates, with our 44107 guys emerging as champions. Long Live Lakewood
LHS graduate, 1977. Teach History and Psychology at LHS