Lansdowne Boys Basketball Excelling Behind Stingy Defense

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When the final whistle sounded on Lansdowne's boys basketball's season last year, head coach Greg Karpers had a challenge for his returning players. The season had been a frustrating one for the Vikings, which saw the team finish with just nine wins after starting the season 6-0.

"I challenged the guys that were returning to prove that they were basketball players," Karpers said. "So far, they have proved that they can play this game."

The team's added dedication to basketball has been paying off. The Vikings are 9-3 this season, already matching their win total from last season.

The big difference for the team has been the team's defense, which has been performing at an elite level this season.

"I'm most impressed with the fact that in 48 quarters of play, we have held teams to under 10 points in 23 quarters," Karpers said.

Setting the tone for the whole team has been senior guard Antoine Jones. Jones, who is a team captain, leads the team in rebounding, assists and steals. Much of what Lansdowne is able to accomplish on defense begins with him.

Handling point guard duties is junior DaQuan Williams, who made the switch from shooting guard to running point this season. His calm demeanor and ability to get his teammates involved has seen the team benefit from the position switch. His fellow guard, AJ McCho-Nji, has also upped his play this year, proving to be a reliable scorer for the Vikings.

Kevin Parrish, who transferred to Lansdowne this season as a senior, has been able to make an immediate impact for the Vikings, contributing on both ends for the team. Senior center Kyndell Overton has been the team's leading inside presence, averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game.

"I'm not surprised by anything this group does. They challenge each other in practice and work well as a group," Karpers said. "The team prides itself on defense, rebounding and assists. This is a very unselfish team, and a special group of athletes."

When asked about the team's marquee win, Karpers cited the victory over Patterson Mill as the one he was most proud of. The win came after a disappointing loss to Owings Mills in which the Vikings blew a lead in the fourth quarter after being ahead for most of the game.

"We went to Patterson Mill that Monday and they start three guys who are 6-foot-5 or bigger, we fought so hard and came out with the win," Karpers said. "At that point I think all the guys realized how we need to play to win."

Looking ahead, Lansdowne is circling every conference game on their schedule as an important one. The team is using the frustration they felt last season as motivation to play every game as hard as they can and improve.

For Karpers, that's a welcomed approach to the game.

"As far as goals go, we focus on getting better every day," Karpers said. "Be better than you were yesterday. If we do that, the wins will come."
January 20th, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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