LAKE WALES — The Lake Wales boys basketball team continued its strong start to the 2018-19 season Dec. 20, holding off a late rally from Winter Haven for 65-53 victory.

The game preceded a weeklong break for both local squads, after which both teams are headed to Vero Beach Dec. 27 for its Holiday Hoopla event.

Lake Wales head coach Don Grant said after the game — one in which his team had led by as many as 19 points — that there were good and bad takeaways from the rivalry victory

“We showed some energy,” Grant said. “We didn’t finish like I wanted to, but we played pretty strong [in the first half].”

Nine different Highlanders (6-1) registered in the scorebook and three players for Lake Wales finished in double-digits: Raykwon Frazier had a team-high 11 points, to go along with 10 points apiece for Gervon Dexter and Donald Gatlin.

Josh Celiscar had a team-high 11 points to lead Winter Haven (2-4).

Grant said afterward that he was pleased with the amount of playing time that non-starters for the Highlanders received during the game.

“What we’re trying to do is build up our other guys because when we go down the stretch [of the season] we’re going to need some help,” Grant said.

On the season, Lake Wales has received consistent strong play from a handful of players led by sophomore guard Walter Clayton — a second-team, all-county players as a freshman — and Dexter, an impressively athletic junior forward.

As the Highlanders prepare for the holiday tournament and the new year, Grant hopes to see his exciting young players grow.

“They’re young and [we’re] trying to press them into leadership — that’s a hard thing to do,” Grant said.


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