Laatsch new Lions’ leading scorer
By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor
NORTH SHELBY — Briarwood Christian School senior Jason Laatsch felt uneasy when the school’s student section rushed the floor and lifted him off his feet Feb. 3 following the Lions’ 39-38 win over Vincent.
Laatsch wasn’t comfortable being in the spotlight, with all eyes inside the gymnasium fixated on him after his school record 1,399th career point sealed the Briarwood Christian victory in the final minute of the game.
The 6-foot-3 guard would have preferred to see the rest of his teammates head and shoulders above the crowd, as well.
“It was definitely awesome,” Laatsch said, “but I didn’t deserve it. It was a whole team effort. I think the entire team deserved to be carried off the floor.”
Laatsch knocked down a pair of free throws with 59 seconds remaining in the contest, which gave the Lions (14-14) the lead for good. Laatsch finished with 14 points in the victory, which gives him 1,400 career points — two more than previous record holder Charles Hoke.
Laatsch said countless hours in the gym firing off 3-pointers and free throws in the summer allowed him to eclipse the school scoring record. Laatsch’s routine in the offseason included 750 3-pointers and 250 free throws a day.
“I just wanted to be the best I could be,” Laatsch said. “I’m just glad to see the fruit show from my labor.”
Devin Bowman added seven points in the victory.
David Loveless chipped in six points. Barnes Bankston and Raymond Woods contributed four points each.
Nathan Fincher added three points. Canon Smith finished with one point in the win.
Tyler Williams and Dontravious Moon led Vincent (21-6) with 12 points each.
Damauntey Johnson added five points. Anterio Rogers chipped in four points.
Jamal McCrimon and Jerrious Hamilton contributed two points each. Marquis Torbert finished with one point.
Laatsch scored the game’s first five points and had eight at halftime following a 3-pointer late in the second quarter. The University of West Florida signee didn’t score in the third quarter before scoring six points in the final period.
Briarwood Christian coach Chris Laatsch, Jason’s father, said the third quarter was a testimony to his son’s unselfish play.
“I didn’t want the focus to be on him chasing the scoring record,” Laatsch said. “When he hit a lull there, he put the game ahead of him as an individual. I’m proud of him.”