Since taking over the head coaching duties at Lake Forest for the boys’ basketball program, Mike Starkey has helped turn things around, winning 10 games in his first season two years ago and 12 wins last season, including a trip to the DIAA State Tournament.

With the growth the team has seen over the past two seasons, expectations for this season are understandably high for the Spartans, who look to contend in the Henlopen South Division and make a return trip to the playoffs.

So far, Lake Forest sits at 3-1 on the season.

The Spartans cruised in their first two wins of the season, opening the year with an 82-22 win over Sussex Academy which saw the 12 different Spartans find the stat sheet led by Thomas Hoskins, Jaysem Vasquez, Kobe Mumford and Shyron Salandy who all finished in double-figures.

They followed up that win win another impressive effort over Laurel, defeating the Bulldogs 73-27; 10 Spartans finished in double-figures including Ahmanuel White, Isaiah Morris and Salandy.

After two blowout wins, the Spartans faced a test against divisional foe Indian River, sneaking past the Indians, 50-47. Lake trailed by 10 after one quarter, but bounced back to outscore IR the rest of the way led by Vasquez and White who combined for 28 points.

In their most recent contest, last Friday against Red Lion, the Spartans suffered their first loss of the season.

While the season is still young, the Spartans have done a good job so far of executing what they worked on during the preseason.

“We spent most of our time this preseason on becoming an aggressive defensive team,” Starkey said. “This group seems to understand that in order to compete for the Southern Division and advance further in the state tournament that we have to become a great defensive team.”

Lake kept Sussex Academy and Laurel to just 49 combined points and held Indian River to just 27 points in the final three quarters after giving up 20 first quarter points in a win last week.

Offensively, they’ve been one of the most productive teams in the state, averaging nearly 70 points per game.

As seen over their first few games, the Spartans have proven they have players capable of contributing in the starting lineup and off the bench.

“With the addition of a few new players that will play key roles for us, we are much deeper and athletic than last year,” Starkey said. “Our starting lineup includes our returning point guard (Jaysem Vasquez), our leading scorer from last season (Isaiah Morris) and a veteran newcomer (Thomas Hoskins) [and] their are four or five guys that compete to fill those remaining two spots in the starting lineup.”

The Spartans look to build on to their hot start when they return to action next Friday night, traveling to take on Delmar at 5:30 p.m. Lake Forest returns home after the new year, hosting Milford on Jan. 2 at 6:15 p.m.