Lakers roll over winless MCE for Homecoming, 87-40

Bear Lake’s Travis Johnson (11) goes to the basket in the Lakers’ 87-40 Homecoming win over Mason County Eastern Friday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Bear Lake’s Travis Johnson (11) goes to the basket in the Lakers’ 87-40 Homecoming win over Mason County Eastern Friday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

BEAR LAKE — Since absorbing its only two losses of the season in the span of three games, Bear Lake boys basketball has now won three straight after a dominant 87-40 win over Mason County Eastern Friday night.

The win keeps Bear Lake on top of the West Michigan D League standings, and sent the large Homecoming crowd happy.

The Lakers needed a late buzzer-beater in overtime in their previous outing, a non-league nail-biter against Mason County Central, but no such heroics were required against the winless Cardinals Friday. After a bit of a slow start, Bear Lake wet on a 23-2 run in the first half and never looked back.

Bear Lake head coach Garret Waller said that he did not fear a letdown against the last-place team in the WMDL.

“It doesn’t matter what their record is, we don’t overlook anybody,” Waller said. “By this time of the season, we’re focused on getting accomplished what we want to accomplish, and that’s our main focus.”

Kaiden Hejl celebrated being crowned Bear Lake’s Homecoming King by pouring in 26 points, pulling down three rebounds and dishing out five assists in the game.

Trey Gilbert had 19 points, with six rebounds three steals and eight assists, Reagan Merrill scored 10 points, all in the second half, and grabbed five rebounds and Gary McBride had seven points, six rebounds and four steals, five assists and four blocked shots

MCE (0-13 overall, 0-10 WMDL) actually led briefly at the start, when a putback of a missed Cardinal free throw gave them an unlikely 7-4 lead just over two minutes into the contest.

But then Bear Lake (12-2, 9-1) turned up the heat with their familiar full-court press, scored the next 10 points in the span of 1:15 and never trailed again.

The Lakers made a comfortable 28-11 first quarter lead even more comfortable by outscoring MCE 30-6 in the second quarter to take a commanding 58-17 lead at the half.

Bear Lake will have two potential trap games against WMDL opponents whose record may be somewhat deceiving. The Lakers will travel to Big Rapids to face Crossroads (5-10, 2-8) on Wednesday, Feb. 14 before coming home to play county rival Brethren (4-9, 3-6) on Friday, Feb. 16.

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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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