Sam Light averaged over 21 points per game last year at Northern Lebanon, and he has no intention of slowing down this season with the help of teammate
Sam Light averaged over 21 points per game last year at Northern Lebanon, and he has no intention of slowing down this season with the help of teammate Richard Iwuagwu. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS FILE)
He calls it "tunnel vision." His coach calls it "taking it on all himself."

Either way, the Light at the end of the line shines bright for the Northern Lebanon boys' basketball team. The Vikings only hope is that everyone can see the way.

As a sophomore, NL point guard Sammy Light dazzled the Lancaster-Lebanon League to the tune of 21.4 points per night. He claimed the Lancaster-Lebanon League scoring crown, edging Annville-Cleona grad and Wilkes sniper Alec Wizar by one point, 471-470.

Light's individual luster, however, dimmed a little when Gary Bouchette's club finished a few layups away from qualifying for the District Three Class AAA Tournament. Northern Lebanon ended 12-10 overall, ranked No. 24 in a power-rating system that takes the top 20.

Entering 2012-13, the ball-handling dynamo is looking to set aside personal achievements for a chance at the playoffs.

"I feel as a team, we can go to districts and win a few games," Light said after a recent scrimmage against Ephrata. "Individually, I want to get better at becoming a true point guard and making my teammates better. It's not about me, it's about the team."

Light, who models his game after NBA star Chris Paul, spends countless hours in the gym, speeding from baseline to baseline. He has the ability to pull up or pop although constantly occupies the paint. He finished in the county's top five snipers last year, sinking 39 long balls.

He can also handle having a target on his back in 2012-13.


Light believes his supporting cast can shine even if he has an off night.

"This year we have a lot of shooters, mostly," he said. "If there's nothing there, I can kick out to someone with an open shot. ... (and) being 5-10, I have to rely on them to get shots."

Steel on steel - Light credits teammate and friend Richard Iwuagwu for refining his skills. Iwuagwu, an in-your-face guard and tireless worker, unofficially led the league in brush burns and bruises last year.

"Probably one of the biggest things that improves Sam is the defense he gets every night at practice from Richard," said Bouchette. "I can't tell you how many times they battle and get bloody and keep going at each other. The other practice we had a drill, Sam caught him and Richard had five stitches in his lip. He basically bit right through his lip. They just go at it and battle."

It has been a non-stop rivalry for the tandem.

"I really didn't start to play a lot until seventh grade," said Light. "Then me and Richard started playing all the time, year-round. We practice all offseason together, at open gym, the park, year-round."

The duo elected to sit out the fall scholastic season to focus on hoops. Light shelved football and soccer, while Iwuagwu skipped cross country.

"Something you don't really see is the time they put in the offseason," explained Bouchette. "All the hours in here at the gym while other people are probably busy playing video games. That's definitely a positive on his side."

The Vikings' boss still believes Light has room to grow, too, physically and mentally.

"Where I feel he needs to grow is sometimes he thinks he has to take it on all himself," said Bouchette. "He needs to realize sometimes he has teammates that are capable of scoring at any given time.

"This year we have guys that can put it in the net. I think that's going to help him a lot this year. It's going to take the pressure off him, and they're not going to be able to say, 'If you shut down Sammy, you shutdown Northern Lebanon.'"