Isaiah Meade-Moss and Hakeem Smith each scored 11 points, and the Firebirds forced 27 turnovers on their way to a 60-23 victory over the Colerain Cardinals in a Greater Miami Conference opener on Friday night.
“It all started with defense,” said Moss, who took the Lakota West job during the offseason after coaching at Middletown and Fenwick prior. “They’re locked in. We know that we’re going to have some ups and downs, offensively, because we’re a young team.
“We want to make sure that we’re making teams uncomfortable offensively with our defense. We want to get our offense from our defense. So we hang our hat on that.”
The Firebirds used an 11-0 run — and their smothering pressure — to build an early lead. They never looked back.
“We wanted to start off fast. We didn’t want to start off slow at all,” said Meade-Moss, a junior guard. “We saw they weren’t going to get back on defense, so we took advantage of that.”
The 11 Lakota West players who saw action on the court Friday played at least 11 minutes, and nine contributed in the scoring column.
Moss said that’s going to common theme for his youthful program this season.
“The one thing you’ll notice with these guys is that they enjoy playing with each other,” Moss said. “There were some unselfish moments where they could be selfish. They just love to play together.”
LJ Green and Tyson Davis added seven points apiece for the Firebirds, who shot 25 of 45 (55.6%) from the floor and scored 43 points off turnovers.
“All we did was try to pack the paint and stop the drive,” said Green, a junior forward. “We just helped each other out, trapped and built up the pressure.”
Phil Emery and Shawn Metcalf each had six points off the bench for Colerain, which slipped to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the GMC.
The Firebirds (2-0, 1-0 GMC) didn’t allow more than eight points in a quarter and got four steals, four points and three assists from freshman Bryce Curry.
“Every detail matters for us and to Coach Moss,” said Smith, a senior forward. “That’s why I like Coach Moss — he’s hard on us. Going into this next one, we’re going to be practicing hard. We’re going to continue to play Firebird basketball.”
Lakota West begins a stretch on three straight road games, starting at Sycamore on Tuesday. Colerain travels to Princeton on Tuesday.