Missing a few key pieces due to injury, Lake Park knew it would have to rely on its calling card: suffocating defense.
Lake Park stymied East Aurora on Friday night in Roselle en route to a 46-31 Upstate Eight Valley Division victory.
"We really helped each other on defense, and if they got around one guy, they had two more guys flying at them," Lake Park forward Dave Prentis said. "When we help each other like that, teams are going to have a tough time scoring on us."
Prentis led all scorers with 13 points and also chipped in 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
Lake Park (13-4, 6-2) held East Aurora (1-17, 1-7) to a mere 9 points at halftime, harassing the Tomcats all night.
It also didn't hurt to have forward Dominique Spencer for the Lancers. Spencer filled up that stat sheet, tallying 12 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals.
"Dom does everything," Lake Park coach Josh Virostko said. "He handles the ball, makes the passes, he's our best rebounder, he guards the other team's best player. He's our captain and he has to do everything for us, and tonight he did a great job."
"I just tried to get my teammates involved and play as a team, and that's how we got the win," Spencer said.
East Aurora came out much stronger in the second half, doubling its score in the third quarter.
"They do a really good job on defense, but our offense wasn't doing as well as it should," East Aurora guard DeJon Talbert said. "Our shots weren't falling and they were getting turnovers. We can't give up no matter what the score is though, and that's something we live by."
Talbert paced the Tomcats with 8 points, but his efforts were not enough to overcome Lake Park's duo of Spencer and Prentis, as well as the Lancers' stout defense.
"Defense is our mainstay," Virostko said. "It's kind of ugly basketball, but it's the basketball we have to play to be successful and that's been our backbone all year. Offensively, it comes and goes, but we had some guys step up tonight."
It may have been easy to potentially overlook East Aurora because Lake Park tangles with neighbor Conant on Saturday night, but the Lancers avoided the dreaded letdown.
"It was a trap game. We have Conant tomorrow night, but we couldn't let this one get away," Prentis said.
"Tomorrow is a big rivalry game for us, but you can't overlook anyone in our conference," Virostko said. "We had a letdown last game against Bartlett and hopefully we learned our lesson."