Sabers pull away late against Lakers

Bear Lake sophomore McKaya Groenwald (15) shoots during Friday’s win against Manistee Catholic Central. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

BEAR LAKE — In their last meeting, Bear Lake broke the heart of Manistee Catholic Central at the buzzer.

On Friday night, however, the Sabers emphatically slammed the door on any chance the Lakers had to repeat their late-game heroics.

MCC (11-3, 10-1 WMD)cruised in the fourth, scoring the game’s final 19 points, for a 70-44 West Michigan D League win that evened the season score.

“I think we were more under control in the second half,” MCC coach Dale Edmondson Jr. said of his team’s fifth straight win. “We were a lot more patient looking for our opportunities, and in the fourth, we had some nice run outs, some nice passes on the inside, and we made our free throws at the end, which cashed it in for us.”

Zack Bialik led the charge with 35 points and four steals for the Sabers while Alex Bialik scored 12 with eight assists, five rebounds, and four steals. Ben Feliczak added 11 points and nine boards while Andrew Perry scored eight to go with a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Lakers, who have dropped six straight, had one lead in the contest — a 1-0 advantage to start the game — but kept within striking distance until late.

“We just broke down defensively, and started taking some bad shots,” Bear Lake coach Garret Waller said of his team’s seven-point fourth quarter. “Those bad shots turned into long rebounds to them that they’d take and score on.”

The Lakers (5-7, 4-6 WMD) were led by Cody Brown with 16 points, while Josh Metiva scored nine, Bryson Waller eight, and Shane Peterson added seven points, four assists and four rebounds.

“We’re just not playing good basketball, and until we hash that out there will be games like this,” Garret Waller said of the current skid. “I don’t really know what to say. It’s frustrating.”

Bear Lake’s Shane Peterson shoots during the second half. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

After trading some early buckets, the Sabers went on an 8-0 run for a 13-4 lead en route to a 19-11 advantage by the end of the first.

Bialik scored 13 points in the quarter and 20 in the half.

The Lakers had just four field goals in the second quarter, but three of those were triples, and they were sent to the line for 11 free throws to keep the score close at 33-26 by the break.

“We were forcing some things in that second quarter,” Edmondson said. “They got right back in it in the second, when we would take an errant shot, and they’d come down and get to the line.”

After an extended halftime for Bear Lake homecoming festivities, the Lakers came out and scored the first five points of the third to bring the game within two for the first of three times in the quarter.

Bear Lake cut the cushion to a bucket as late as 3:30 in the third, but MCC responded with a 10-2 run, including eight unanswered for a 47-37 lead heading into the fourth.

“We just can’t put the ball in the hole,” Waller said of keeping up with the high-scoring Sabers. “We’re either beating ourselves on missed free throws, or we just can’t make shots.

“Then, when you mix that with not getting stops on the other end, because at any given time one person or another is missing their rotation, it snowballs on you.”

In the fourth, the score was as close as 49-43 with six minutes left, but then the Sabers surged.

A 21-1 run, including 19 straight to close the game, turned a close contest into a runaway win. MCC, which shot 20-of-29 from the line throughout, was 7-for-9 in the fourth.

“We played well three out of four quarters, which is a start,” Edmondson said. “That’s two games in a row now that I feel we’ve played three out of four, now we just need to continue to try to make it a full four.”

 

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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