Forest’s size and numbers too much for Lake Weir

Forest’s Brenen Lorient (5) drives to the hoop as he is defended by Lake Weir’s Amarion Dudley (30) during a basketball game at Lake Weir High School in Candler, Fla. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Forest won the game. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.

Undersized and undermanned, the Lake Weir Hurricanes were faced with a tall task when the Forest Wildcats came to visit on Wednesday night.

The visiting Wildcats could have a full five-man lineup on the floor and still have nine players on the bench. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes could field their lineup and only have two players in the reserves.

Fatigue, paired with playing against a Forest team that has seven players eclipsing 6-foot-3 proved far too much for Lake Weir as the Wildcats handedly won the “Battle for Maricamp” 94-39.

Coming out of the gate, Forest used its lengthy lineup to its advantaged as the Wildcats smothered the Hurricanes with a full-court press. Overwhelmed by the Forest defense, Lake Weir’s battle with turn overs made for easy baskets in transition for Forest.

Lake Weir’s Kobe Thompson (10) is double teamed by Forest’s Aaron Stelogeanis (2) and Jeremiah Russell (1) during a basketball game at Lake Weir High School in Candler, Fla. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Forest won the game. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.

Forest junior Brenen Lorient, who stretches 6-foot-8, led the Wildcats’ scoring efforts with his 17 points, which were scored in the first half alone. Much of Lorient’s scoring spree, which included sprinkles of slam dunks, followed forced turnovers from Forest’s stingy defense.

“The best part about Brenen is that he wants to get better every day,” Forest’s Spencer Ashley said. “He’s already talking about practice tomorrow. And every day that we have off, he wants to be in the gym getting better. Sometimes I have to pull him back because he always wants to work, and I need him to rest.”

Fortunately for Ashley, the second half of Wednesday’s game gave an opportunity for not just Lorient, but for many of his starters to rest and watch the game from the bench.

Of the Wildcats’ 94 points, 60 of them came off the bench.

Junior Brandon Baxley led the bench’s scoring efforts with 11 points, while freshman X’Zavion McCoy netted 10 points and junior Calvin Davison dropped nine points, all of which came from beyond the arc.

“I think what we just showed people was something I’ve known for a little while is that every one of my guys can play,” Ashley said. “I’ve got 14 guys that can play. And it didn’t matter who I put in tonight, it didn’t matter what lineup we went with, they just went out there and played hard. I know Lake Weir is a little shorthanded right now, but I told my guys we’re going to go out there and play hard no matter who we’re playing.”

Forest’s Brandon Baxley (15) looks for a way to the hoop as he is defended by Lake Weir’s Jervaris Etienne (24) during a basketball game at Lake Weir High School in Candler, Fla. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Forest won the game. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.

The Hurricanes, despite a short bench and large deficit, showed life in the second half. After having only scored six points in the first two quarters, Lake Weir turned around and scored 17 points and 16 points, respectively, in the latter half of the game.

Lake Weir junior Tyrone Smith led the ‘Canes offensive efforts with 13 points, while fellow junior Amarion Dudley was hot on his heels with 12 points of his own.

The Hurricanes fall to 2-4 on the season, but look to bounce back on December 17 when they visit St. John Lutheran for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

Meanwhile, Forest, which improved to 7-1 with the win, won’t return to action until December 22, when the Wildcats host Providence (Jacksonville) at 6 p.m.

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