Among area high schools, the new three-point field goal perhaps has had the greatest impact at Robert E. Lee, the home of senior sharpshooter Jeff Jividen.
Following a 12-13 season a year ago, the Lancers are 8-1, thanks largely to a balanced scoring attack anchored by Jividen.
Lee's success and Jividen's 52-percent three-point shooting make the 6-foot-2, guard/forward one of the premier three-point shooters in the region.
"He's a great shooter," said South Lakes Coach Wendell Byrd, whose team lost to Lee, 65-60, on a night Jividen hit six three-pointers. "We prepared for them by trying to totally deny Jividen the basketball. But with his ability to utilize picks and screens he was able to free himself. It was his three-pointers that beat us."
But Jividen, who is averaging 16.8 points per game, dismisses his long-range shooting as simply a part of the Lancers' offensive scheme. "In our motion offense we run through looking for the best shot available and if a three-pointer comes up we take it. Our main objective is to get a good shot, not forced. It doesn't matter if it's a three-pointer or a 10-footer."
David Zadareky (10-for-35 from three-point range) and Bill Courtney (13-for-28) join Jividen behind the three-point line and Lee Coach Charlie Thompson does not discourage the Lancers from taking the shot. "We have only two rules on shooting: One, it has to be a good shot, and two, nobody has a better one," Thompson said.
Jividen has hit 29-of-56 three-point attempts and has a better percentage from three-point range than from inside the line (18-of-36). But Thompson is not surprised by his long-range success. "If you watch him shoot you see it's the same shot from 10 feet or 20 feet. He's just a great shooter with great shooting mechanics and fundamentals."
If, as Jividen claims, his shooting is a product of the offense, the balance of the Lancers' attack is partly due to Jividen's three-pointers. As teams are forced to extend defenses to protect against the three-point shooting, they leave themselves vulnerable to Courtney's drives and the inside play of 6-8 center Derek Solomon.