2018-01-18 / Sports

Hazelton, Lakers breeze past Benzie

In some circles, the battle for first place atop the Northwest Conference standings was billed as a two-team race between Buckley and Glen Lake.

Someone forgot to tell Frankfort.

The Panthers, who were swept by Buckley and Glen Lake last season, shook up the two-team narrative with a 69-53 win at Buckley last Thursday — just two days after the Bears beat visiting Glen Lake 73-59.

“It’s a dogfight,” said Glen Lake coach Rich Ruelas, whose Lakers (5-1, 4-1) travel to Frankfort (7-0, 5-0) today.

The Panthers checked into the first AP Poll of the season Tuesday as one of three teams tied for the No. 2 spot in Class D, but they’ll have their hands full against a Glen Lake team that beat them twice last season — 62-55 in Maple City and 63-43 in Frankfort.

Reece Hazelton and the Lakers will enter the matchup with a full head of steam, too, after an impressive 81-50 bounce-back win over visiting Benzie Central last Thursday.

Hazelton, a sophomore forward, shot 4-of-9 from long range en route to a career-high 20 points. He also corralled five rebounds. Cade Peterson, meanwhile, posted his best stat line of the season with 17 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and nine steals.

“When you’re nearing a quadruple-double, you’re making an impact on the game,” Ruelas said of the senior.

The Lakers, who racked up 21 steals and 34 points off turnovers, also had a big game from Xander Okerlund. Okerlund put up 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists and seven steals.

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