Bear Lake overturns 12-point deficit to beat Brethren

 

Bear Lake senior Jordan Anderson dribbles between Devyn Holbrook (11) and Ethan Fischer (10) of Brethren during the Lakers’ 52-41 win over the Bobcats on Saturday. Anderson scored 21 points in the game, 13 of them in the fourth quarter. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Bear Lake senior Jordan Anderson dribbles between Devyn Holbrook (11) and Ethan Fischer (10) of Brethren during the Lakers’ 52-41 win over the Bobcats on Saturday. Anderson scored 21 points in the game, 13 of them in the fourth quarter. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

BRETHREN — Bear Lake stayed in the race for the West Michigan D League boys basketball title, but had to overcome a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to do it in a 52-41 win at Brethren on Saturday.

The Lakers trailed by 12 points with 5:50 left in the game, but went on an 18-2 run in the next 3 minutes of play and sealed the game from the free-throw line in the final minute.

The victory means that Bear Lake (9-2 overall, 9-2 WMDL) has avenged both of its losses this season, after Brethren won 75-60 on the Lakers’ home court back on Jan. 7.

Bear Lake head coach Garret Waller said that the win, which kept his team within one game of league-leading Onekama, showed the small margin for error in the championship race down the stretch.

“Obviously we need Onekama to get knocked off at some point, but we can’t lose a game,” Waller said. “Every conference game from here on out is huge for us.”

Jordan Anderson of Bear Lake and Josh Riggs of Brethren shared game-high honors with 21 points. But for the late comeback the game would have been remembered as the Josh Riggs show, before foul trouble slowed what was shaping up to be a huge performance.

Waller said that his team’s answer to Riggs was simply to defend everyone else.

“Josh is going to get his points, we need to limit the other guys,” Waller said. “The first time we played them they had four guys in double figures, and we just had to worry about the rest of the team. Josh is a good player, if he gets 20 and we hold everybody else, that gives us a chance.”

Riggs had 17 points in the first three quarters, but picked up his third foul with 43 seconds left in the third.

Brethren head coach J.J. Randall said that it was hard to keep Riggs out of action for any length of time.

“At times, we just looked a little lost when he was off the floor,” Randall said. “He got into a little foul trouble, and he got taken away. He’s still a heck of a good kid, and he played well, he played tough the whole time.”

Brethren (9-5, 6-5) opened up an early lead, 13-4, with Riggs scoring 10 of those first points, before Bear Lake closed the gap with a strong second quarter ended by a 3-pointer by Kaiden Hejl that cut the Bobcat lead to 15-13 at the break.

The Bobcats never trailed at any point in the first three quarters and opened up some breathing room early in the fourth, when two consecutive 3-pointers by Gavin Asiala got the gym rocking with a 37-25 lead that made it look like Brethren was going to run away with the contest.

They did not.

Waller called a time-out at that point, and Bear Lake scored the next 8 points in the span of 45 seconds and didn’t look back.

Anderson scored 13 of his 21 points after that fourth-quarter timeout.

“Things weren’t going our way, so we had to change something,” Anderson said. “It was all attitude. We got one good bucket and things started going from there. Our shots weren’t going in, we couldn’t hold onto the ball very well, and all of a sudden something clicked and everything started working.”

Anderson gave Bear Lake its first lead of the contest, 41-39, with a 3-point play with 3:18 left on the clock. The shell-shocked Bobcats were forced to foul down the stretch, and the Lakers converted 4 of their 7 free throws in the final 47 seconds of play.

Asiala finished with 8 points for Brethren and Devyn Holbrook and Brendan McClard had 6 each.

“It’s a tough loss,” Randall said. “We’ve just got to learn from it. That’s why sports is so great, you learn that life has some tough times, but we’ll get back up and play the next game and hopefully play tough.”

Trent Johnson scored 11 points for Bear Lake,and Hejl added 8.

Thanks in part to the weather, Bear Lake still has 8 games left to play, starting tomorrow at Traverse City Christian, and will finish the season on a run of 6 games in 12 days, all at home.

Brethren will get back into action on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Pentwater.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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