Athlete of the Week: T.J. Lake - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Athlete of the Week: T.J. Lake

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EPWORTH (KWWL) -

T-J Lake may be a little undersized, but opponents that underestimate him tend to get burned.

Dennis Geraghty/Western Dubuque Head Coach said, "I think in the 6th or 7th grade he decided he wanted to be a college player. A lot of people told him he was going to be too small to be a college player, and he's proved them wrong."

T-J has been a key component in Western Dubuque's success this season -- At 15 and oh the Bobcats have cruised through the season --

T-J's currently the 5th leading scorer in class 4A and hits better than 40 percent from beyond the arc --

and while Lake has had a lot of success -- one prominent failure has motivated him more than anything.

TJ Lake said, "I'm always at the rec center shooting free throws and putting myself in that situation again."

In last year's state title game -- Mount Pleasant's Dalton Conrad drilled a 3 pointer late in overtime -- forcing a second overtime where Western Dubuque would eventually fall --

The shot may not have happened had Lake not missed a pair of free throws just moments earlier --

Lake says, "I just try to use it as a learning experience every day in practice and just try to get better from that moment on. "

Coach Geraghty says, "He just goes and works that much harder, I think he'd like to be in that situation again this year"

And with this squad -- T-J may get that chance -- As a team -- the Bobcats shoot nearly 45 percent from behind the arc -- a full 5 percent better than any other team in class 4-A -- and the team chemistry is key.

T-J says,  "I know what everyone what everyone wants to do, what Brendan, Nick, and Spencer want to do on the floor, so I try to get them in a position where they can do something good, and they do the same for me. That's why we're undefeated."

Staying undefeated is the ultimate goal -- and Coach Dennis Geraghty believes T-J Lake's work ethic will go a long way in making that a reality.

Coach Geraghty said,  "T-J's one of the hardest working basketball players I've ever had, shooting the ball in the morning, shooting over at the rec center. Eh just can't get enough basketball, and it's made him a really good player."

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