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Lockport wants to create a 5-on-5 game

Porters look to Blakney, Taylor, Hollatz for leadership

In this era of one-on-one basketball, when every kid wants to take the ball to the basket and hopefully finishg with a resounding dunk, Lockport coach Lawrence Thompson Jr. is a bit of a throwback.

Of course, his motivation is to afford his team its best chance to be successful.

Thompson had the Porters at last weekend's Joliet West Shootout, and what was immediately noticeable is Lockport is not very big.

"I have to get out those circus mirrors and put them in our locker room," Thompson said. "At least we'll look taller.

"We're not as athletic as we have been and we're just as small. So what we have to do is stress fundamentals, especially on the defensive end.

"On the offensive end, we have to put a premium on getting uncontested shots and knock those down. The key will be whether we will be patient enough to get that done."

If one of the Porters launched an uncontested 20-foot shot in the flow of the offense at the shootout, Thompson did not mind. But if the 20-footer went up too quickly, or with a defender in the shooter's face, his reaction was not nearly as favorable.

"We just want to get good shots, uncontested shots," Thompson said. "A shot from 20 feet can be a good shot, but it's not always the best."

Lockport's graduation losses from last season's 13-15 team included Grover Anderson, John Campbell, Ryan Reed, Jaylandt Gilmer and Matt Baran, all of whom key components.

Returning with significant varsity experience are Ralph Blakney, Deiondre Taylor and Gehrig Hollatz. Tyrail Trussell had a 20-point game in a regional victory over Joliet West.

"We hope Ralph Blakney, Gehrig Hollatz and Deiondre Taylor can step up their games," Thompson said. "They have the most varsity minutes. We need them to step up their individual games as well as lead the team confidence-wise."

Thompson said rebounding, shot selection and making shots are areas where Lockport must improve.

"We want to get ball movement and people movement and end up with an uncontested shot," he said. "We want to make it a five-on-five game so we can make a play."

Overall, the summer has been has been going decently well, Thompson noted.

"It's an average summer," he said. "The kids who are going to compete are out here trying to get better."

Thompson is entering his 16th season as Lockport's head coach. His 115-year record is 235-184, a .561 winning percentage.

However, the Porters have had two consecutive sub-.500 seasons and are anxious to get back on the plus side of the ledger. The key to getting there is remaining patient and executing a five-man game on both ends of the floor.

That's Thompson's way.

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