By Giavonni Nickson
There was no shortage of excitement Thanksgiving weekend during the 11th annual Lakeshore Classic event presented by the Gary Chamber of Commerce. Basketball fans gathered to watch teams from Gary, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Michigan City Indiana, compete at West Side High School.
Before each game, the Gary Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chuck Hughes, Chamber Board Members, and Senator Eddie Melton presented Academic & Athletic Excellence awards to student-athletes for their high academic achievement.
On Friday, November 23, the West Side Lady Cougars defeated 2018 State Champions, Chicago’s Marshall High School Lady Commandos.
First-year head coach Shanee’ Butler and the West Side Cougars defended their home court by defeating the Lady Commandos.
This was a game of redemption for the Cougars. Two years ago, the Cougars lost by 31 points to the Lady Commandos.
During their rematch, Dash Shaw scored 38 points leading the Cougars to a 66-62 victory.
The game was down to the wire with fans on the edge of their seats during the second half. West Side had a 10-point lead with six minutes left on the game clock. The Lady Commandos were rebounding well and shooting outside shots to close the lead. With one-minute left in the fourth quarter, the Lady Commandos were only down by 2 points but missed the final shots.
Shaw stated, “I didn’t realize I scored 38 points. We communicated as a team, and that was the key to our victory today. In practice, we run constantly, and that disciplined conditioning has helped prepare us for this season. If we focus on each game, one by one, we can stay undefeated. We have what it takes to contend for the state championship.”
The Cougars have a motto that they wear on the back of their warm-ups, “Everyone has a goal, but not everyone has the grind.”
Coach Butler explained her team’s grind and the strategy that has ushered them to an undefeated season (7-0). “We focus on discipline. We have talent on our team, but our discipline and defense are what wins games. We lost to Chicago Marshall two years ago, but we won today because of defense and communication on the court.”
Dorothy Gaters, Chicago Marshall head coach of 42 years stated,” West Side did a great job tonight defending their home court. They were competitive, and we just couldn’t beat them tonight.”
Student-Athletes Dash Shaw, Antwaniya Mc Donald, Markisha Pritchett, Essence King, Ja’Lynn Prince, and Stephanie Tores of the West Side Cougars received Academic & Athletic Excellence awards.
Student-Athletes, Jalyn Jimenez, Brandi Hudson, Dajanae James, Aaliyah Johnson, and Tamarriyanna Levy of the Chicago Marshall Lady Commandos also received Academic & Athletic Excellence awards.
Later that evening Thea Bowman faced Indianapolis’ George Washington. Amari Sherrod scored 21 points and led Bowman to a win. Bowman started strong with an 11-point lead after the first quarter and a 14-point lead going into halftime. They maintained their lead throughout the second half and closed the game 61-52.
Bowman Student-Athletes Amari Sherrod, Avion Holt, Lamont Wilkerson, and Jordan Adams received Academic & Athletic Excellence awards.
Representing George Washington, Student-Athlete Cody Waldon received an Academic & Athletic Excellence award.
On Saturday, November 24th the Roosevelt Panthers defeated the Calumet New Tech Warriors 72-65. Leading scorer Ryan Johnson hit the first three-point shot at the opening of the game and led the Panthers with 21 points. Each team was fighting for their first win of the season. Calumet started the game strong, tying the score at the end of the first quarter. The score was close until the second half.
In the second half Davion Davis, lead scorer for the Warriors, scored 29 of his 35 points, but it was not enough to defeat the Panthers. Roosevelt stepped up its defense to extend its lead and walk away with the win.
Roosevelt Head Coach James Scott said, “After losing to Bowman by 50 points with 30 team turnovers, our focus has been to reduce turnovers and get better one game at a time. Tonight, we did that, we stayed focused, and we passed the ball.”
Student-Athletes John McGee and Jamarcus Thurmond of Roosevelt received Academic & Athletic Excellence awards.
Student-Athletes Caleb Deel, Da’vion Davis, Deshaun Thornton, Armani Christopher, Darvoni Christopher, and Joshua Johnson of Calumet received Academic & Athletic Excellence awards.
The final game of the evening featured the home team, the West Side Cougars against Michigan City Marquette. With home-court advantage, the Cougars won 86-72. The score was tight during the first half. With 30 seconds left in the half, lead scorer Emmanuel Calhoun sped down court during a fast break to tie the score. Calhoun finished the game with 20 points, and the Cougars stepped up their defense during the second half, for the win.
Student-Athletes Mason Nicholson, Parion Roberson, Isaiah Sims, Jimmie Washington Jr., and Jalen Washington of West Side received Academic & Athletic Excellence awards.
Student-Athletes Jake Tarnow, Jalen Russell, Colin Kenney, Joe Andershock, Robert Bartholomew, and Zac Arthur of Marquette received Academic & Athletic Excellence awards.