LAKE GEORGE - Dodging the slaps of Wacky Noodles and repeated bashing by blocking pads wielded by coaches and teammates, Jake Nelson drove to the basket Monday in varsity boys basketball practice, putting up jumpshots and layups.
Nelson and his teammates were preparing for their final two games of the season, games that could lead to the Adirondack League Championship match this Saturday night.
Whether it's practicing shots under physical duress, lofting relaxed throws or running offensive patterns, the Warriors were busy this week preparing with an eye on accomplishing their goal of winning the league title.
Friday, Lake George took a giant, crucial step toward that goal, by defeating Corinth, who'd been leading the league's Western Division since they defeated Lake George earlier in the season.
As he stepped off the court Monday, Nelson said his teammates had realized the gravity of their must-win situation.
"We just knew we couldn't lose another game this season," the record-breaking rebounder said. Nelson performed well on defense in the Corinth game, plus he tallied 7 of 11 foul shots, a considerable improvement from recent games.
Lake George beat Corinth 55-47, with a fourth-quarter surge that led to a dramatic come-from-behind victory. The Warriors had been trailing by as many as 10 points.
Nelson said Warrior coach Dave Jones' advice that defensive rebounding would win the game was critical in the victory.
Senior player Robert Mastrantoni added his thoughts Monday, crediting the Warriors 3-2 defense and his teammates working together seamlessly to not allow dribble penetration.
"If one guy got taken out, another was right there to pick up the defense," he said.
The Warriors, Mastrantoni said, took control of game play, rather than letting Corinth dominate like they had in the earlier matchup.
"The first game, we let them dictate a lot of stuff," he said. "But Friday, we took control - our drive, our play was like we were in the sectionals."
Monday, Lake George was scheduled to meet up against rival Warrensburg. If the Warriors win, they were scheduled to meet up against Corinth Thursday for the Western Division Adirondack League championship.
If they get that far, they'll be advancing to the Adirondack League East-West showdown Saturday at the Civic Center.