Laker girls are WMDL champions

Bear Lake’s Abby Cross (4, left) fights for a rebound with Walkerville’s Kylie Masta (4, right) in the Lakers’ win over the Wildcats on Thursday. The win clinches a share of the West Michigan D League championship for the Lakers, their first since 2011-12. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Bear Lake’s Abby Cross (4, left) fights for a rebound with Walkerville’s Kylie Masta (4, right) in the Lakers’ win over the Wildcats on Thursday. The win clinches a share of the West Michigan D League championship for the Lakers, their first since 2011-12. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

BEAR LAKE — Bear Lake won a share of the 2017-18 West Michigan D League girls basketball championship with a bizarre win over Walkerville in the regular-season finale Thursday night.

The game will officially go down as a Walkerville forfeit after a fight broke out on the floor, and the game was stopped with 5.5 seconds left in the third quarter.

But the Lakers had the game well in hand at that point, leading 40-18 on the scoreboard.

Bear Lake finished the regular season with a record of 15-5 overall, 12-2 in WMDL play.

Three different Lakers scored in double figures led by Mariah Beaver, who scored a game-high 14 points, including two 3-pointers, and a team-high 6 rebounds.

Yuki Babinec scored 11 points and Hayley May added 10 for Bear Lake in the game, which was a tough, physical battle throughout, even before tempers flared.

The win gave the Lakers their first WMDL girls basketball title since 2011-12. They share the crown with Pentwater (14-6, 12-2), which finished its season with a 61-22 win over Big Rapids Crossroads in a game played simultaneously.

“We worked hard all season,” Babinec said. “We definitely earned it, I’d say. It’s pretty great, we’ve never won anything before.”

Babinec was one of five seniors on the roster, all five of which started the game, their last on their home floor. The unfamiliar lineup had a bit of trouble getting in sync, which allowed Walkerville (9-11, 8-6) to jump out to a 7-0 lead.

But the regulars came off the bench and put together an 11-0 run from there, and the Lakers never trailed again in the contest.

The Wildcats closed the gap with a spurt to end the first quarter trailing by just one point, 14-13, but the Laker defense took over from there. Walkerville could not muster a single field goal in the second quarter, and Bear Lake opened up a commanding 29-15 lead at the half.

Lakers head coach Jeff Harthun said that his team has yet to realize its full potential.

“I really want to see that team really, really play the best that they can, because in all seriousness, I don’t think we have yet,” Harthun said. “I haven’t seen them play like I know they can.

“I’m still waiting for that game where we come out and play stellar.”

Walkerville finally scored from the field on a pull-up jumper with 3:30 left in the third quarter, by which time the Lakers had stretched the lead to 39-16

The game came to a premature conclusion with 5.5 seconds left in the third quarter, when a fight broke out on the floor. Kaitlynn Omar was the Bear Lake player involved, and it was unclear at press time whether she was officially ejected from the contest and would therefore have to sit out the Lakers’ next game, their district opener.

Two Walkerville players were also identified as being involved in the fracas, and their district status is also unclear.

Bear Lake will start their postseason against Mesick at Brethren on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

avatar

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.

Leave a Reply