2016-12-08 / Sports

Peterson, Okerlund lift Lakers past Glads

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff

MAX LERCHEN of Glen Lake (24) leaves his feet for a first-quarter layup Tuesday at St. Francis. MAX LERCHEN of Glen Lake (24) leaves his feet for a first-quarter layup Tuesday at St. Francis. The team Traverse City St. Francis shut down in the 2016 district final is not the team St. Francis saw in Traverse City on Tuesday.

Cade Peterson poured in 23 points, Xander Okerlund added 22 and the Glen Lake boys began their season with an emphatic road victory over their district nemeses, 68-55.

“The environment was amazing and the crowd was spectacular,” said second-year Glen Lake coach Rich Ruelas. “The energy carried over from football and the support was phenomenal.”

Peterson, who recently quarterbacked the Glen Lake football team to a state finals appearance, gave the Glads a glimpse of what they might see in this year’s district tournament.

The 6-foot-4 swingman turned in a double-double in his Glen Lake debut, shooting 7-of-11 from the field and pulling down 10 rebounds.

“Cade’s a leader and he’s highly competitive. He hates to lose more than he loves to win,” Ruelas said of the junior, who transferred to Glen Lake from Lake City. “He really brought a lot of energy for us tonight.”

Okerlund, meanwhile, did most of his damage from beyond the arc. The sophomore standout shot 8-of-14 from the field and 4-of-5 from 3.

Peterson and Okerlund may have led the Lakers in scoring, but the season-opening triumph was anything but a two-man show.

Ruelas rolled out reserves without hesitation, playing 12 different Lakers in the first half.

“I saw these guys celebrate tonight and they didn’t care who the leading scorer was,” he said. “They only cared about winning that game.”

The Lakers, who struggled to generate offense against the Gladiators in the 58-49 district final loss on March 11, took control in the third quarter when they outscored St. Francis 23-11.

Ruelas said Glen Lake led by 20 with about four minutes left to play in the closing stanza before St. Francis trimmed the deficit to 13.

“We’ve only had four practices so the situational things at the end, we haven’t had a chance to work on,” Ruelas said. “We came down, had a couple good looks and took shots when we should have waited and used the clock.

“But we’ll learn from that.”

The Lakers will look to stay hot Tuesday when they open Northwest Conference play at Mesick.

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