The last time the Lakeside Chiefs won a State Championship on the hardwood back in 1994. In 2020, the newest version of the Chiefs snapped the decades long title drought. Lakeside came into the title fight against Autauga Academy as the underdog. Despite punching up to their much taller and bigger opponents the Chiefs’ grit was on full display.
In the final seconds of the game, TJ Smith steals a Generals in-bounds pass then draws a foul. Smith stepped up to the free throw line and hit two crucial free throws to give Lakeside a 2-point lead with 5 seconds left in the game. The Generals final 3-pointer fell shot and finally an AISA Championship is coming back to the Lakeside campus.
Head Coach Tom Clements talked about that the most important part of the game plan. It was always about helping his players grow as people.
“That I always put the kids number one. And they know that. And that’s part of the process. It’s not just what we’re doing with the x’s and o’s. It’s how we carry ourselves in the classroom, how we handle ourselves in the community. If you’re doing those things the right way, you’re going to get results on the athletic field, floor, wherever it’s at. And that’s what I’ve always tried to focus on at Lakeside, the student athletes, trying to make them better people. This is just icing on the cake. It’s been a good ride,” said Clements.