The quickness, depth and post height of Metea Valley's boys basketball team is hard for many teams to handle, period.
One lacking two of its top three scorers, as Lake Park was Saturday, is in a hard spot.
Forcing 29 turnovers and making 29 field goals, visiting Metea won the Upstate Eight Conference Valley Division game 67-34 in Roselle. Sean Davis led the Mustangs with 13 points, while Vin Patel and 6-foot-10 Hayden Barnard each scored 8.
"Going in tonight, I said if it was a game at halftime I would have been proud of our guys," said Lake Park coach Josh Virostko, missing 3-shooting guard Carlos Cortez at a family wedding and another Lancer out for discipline.
"We're already young as heck and got guys that aren't experienced anyway, and then you take the two guys we've really leaned on, I knew it was going to be rough. I still think it could have been better," he said.
Metea Valley (15-7, 8-2) made quick work of that notion. Trayvond Taylor, Derek Coleman, Nick Dodson and Patel collected steals, Patel twice, in an 11-turnover first quarter for Lake Park (13-9, 3-7).
"I thought the presence was good with the full-court man-to-man, and we also picked some opportunities to go with (a half-court) trap. I think we responded well with it," said Metea coach Bob Vozza, who sought and received a physical effort that kept the Mustangs hot on the heels of 8-1 Valley Division leader Neuqua Valley.
Metea posted leads of 13-2 and 25-9 then built on those, leading 34-13 at the half and 51-25 after three quarters. Lake Park improved on its ball possession, but made 15 of 40 shot attempts.
Topping out with 6-foot-5 John Hower off the bench, Lake Park had to deal with Barnard, who blocked 2 shots and grabbed 7 rebounds in three quarters. When he was done in came 6-foot-6 Shiv Desai, who scored 6 points with 2 blocks.
"I thought the presence of both of them was very good," Vozza said.
Lancers 6-1 junior forward Austin Fortin got the call in the paint and scored 8 points in his longest varsity stint, tying Mel Kimbrough for team honors. Jeremy Caboor was a spark with 4 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
"I love competition," Fortin said. "I go straight into it. I saw it as a challenge and I took hold of it and went against him."