Lake Creek made waves last season as the first team in school history to reach the playoffs. Entering their second year under coach Shannon Spencer, the Lions have even higher aspirations this time around.
Lake Creek finished the year with a 15-20 overall record, but the team went 10-6 in District 20-5A action to grab the No. 3 seed for the postseason behind Huntsville and Willis. The Lions saw their campaign end in the bi-district round, suffering a 28-point loss against Bryan Rudder.
Playing without seniors during its first varsity season means Lake Creek will have plenty of returners.
“We’re more experienced,” Spencer said. “The guys have all played together for a year now, so if we’re not improved or better than we were last year, they probably need to find a new coach.
“We’ve probably played in 50 to 60 games through shootouts and different tournaments, and I’m willing to bet these guys are the hardest-working guys in the county this offseason.”
Getting a taste of the playoffs was a valuable experience for the Lions and should pay dividends.
“I thought they did an excellent job last year,” Spencer said. “I think they reached their goals. They wanted to make the playoffs, and they did. I don’t think they liked the taste in their mouth after getting our tail kicked by Rudder, but they’ve set their sights on winning the district this year and make a deep run in the playoffs.”
The Lions’ success begins with 6-foot-2 senior point guard Pierce Spencer, who was selected as The Courier’s Player of the Year last season after averaging 22.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.6 steals per game.
Lake Creek also returns 6-foot-2 forward and Newcomer of the Year Hudson Boyd, who is a junior this season. He also carried a significant scoring load for the Lions at 12.1 points per contest.
“Their leadership is what’s going to be most important,” Shannon Spencer said.
Other contributors for the Lions will include senior forward Noah Cantu; junior guards Ty George, Mason Moore and Zack Hazlewood; and junior guard Jordan Fitch, a transfer from Grand Oaks. Freshman guard Everett Gawlikowski could end up playing a key role for the team, too.
Lake Creek fared well against District 20-5A competition last season and will look for continued success this year as the league slate extends to 18 games with the addition of Grand Oaks. Huntsville, Willis, Montgomery, Tomball, Kingwood Park, Caney Creek, Porter and New Caney round out the opposing teams.
“It’s tough,” Shannon Spencer said. “You’ve got a little room for error with 18 games, but I see quite a few teams in the district improved. I think K-Park is going to be improved, Huntsville is going to be tough as always, as is Willis. So it’s going to be a grind, and now you throw in Grand Oaks. It’s going to be a grind.”
Lake Creek opens the season at home next Tuesday against Deer Park.
“I’m really excited,” Shannon Spencer said. “It’s been a long six months since we played last. But we’re looking forward to the challenge. The guys worked extremely hard, and now it’s time to see how it all pans out.”