SPARTAN SUPREMACY: No. 1 Seven Lakes locked in for title pursuit
Seven Lakes basketball, once again, flexed its utter dominance to claim another seemingly inevitable playoff berth. No shocker there.
Picking up right where they left off from last year, the Spartans have eclipsed their competition throughout this season (30-4), comfortably winning a second-consecutive District 19-6A title with an undefeated 15-0 current district record. As of right now, Seven Lakes is the No. 1 ranked team in Houston, as well as the No. 20 team in the state of Texas.
“What makes us special is the number of threats we have,” said junior guard AJ Bates Jr. “We have guys who can get to the rim, guys who can shoot the ball really well. We have a big presence in the middle, with Josh [Akpovwa]. Everyone is dangerous on this team.”
SLHS Spartans' AJ Bates Jr.Justin Hartojo (VYPE)
Last season transpired in a similar fashion (32-4; 11-1 in district) for SLHS, but their postseason was cut short due to a nail-biter upset against Bellaire (53-50) in the UIL Area Round.
Considering what the Spartans are showcasing on the court in 2023, the vets will be leaned on to remove that chip on their shoulder.
“This year, we have to really lock in and trust the process,” said Akpovwa. “The only thing stopping us from a State Championship is ourselves.”
Bates, in particular, has been a beast for the Spartans this Winter. Averaging 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, the 6-foot-2 guard has thoroughly established himself as a leader for the Katy ISD team, elevating the rest of the talented roster.
“Being in the leadership role is something I’m used to,” he said. “ When it comes down to it, our biggest strength has been our guard play because they control every aspect of the game. We have two high-level scorers, in me and Nasir [Price]. Brett [Norton] (Jr.) can get to the rim, as well. Just being able to lead the team to success has been great.”
SLHS Spartans' Josh AkpovwaJustin Hartojo (VYPE)
On top of the scoring threat that Bates provides, the 6-foot-8 Josh Akpovwa incorporates a domineering presence for Seven Lakes hoops. He will be hungry for the chance to put SLHS in the history books, as he will soon be moving on to Incarnate Word at the conclusion of this semester.
“This upcoming postseason means a lot to me and the rest of the seniors,” Akpovwa said. “Even though I will go on to play basketball in college, winning a State Championship my senior year would be a dream come true.”
Playoff season is rapidly approaching, with round one beginning on February 20. The Seven Lakes Spartans are going to be primed to make a statement when that time comes.