2018-03-08 / Sports

Glen Lake was the place to be last night

A good amount of hullabaloo surrounded the highly anticipated boys basketball district opener between No. 6 Glen Lake and visiting Manton after press time last night.

The game was expected to sell out, which led multiple Manton fans to criticize Glen Lake on a Facebook post for its handling of presale tickets.

“Very poorly (thought-out) plan by Glen Lake Schools,” one fan commented. “If this is the way they are going to run things during the playoffs I sincerely hope that this is the last time they have the opportunity to host something like this. Quite honestly the gym is too small to be hosting this in the first place. I think we all need to make a call to MHSAA and voice our complaints over this matter.”

Glen Lake Athletic Director Jen Johnston said both schools received 200 presale tickets per MHSAA guidelines but that Manton chose to offer its 200 tickets to students first, not the general public. Some fans assumed Manton wasn't given any presale tickets.

Regardless, with only a little more than 600 tickets available at the door, fans were encouraged to arrive early.

Glen Lake coach Rich Ruelas and his Lakers (18-2) likely did the same.

“We talked as a team and said we’re going to block out any outside noise, focus on us and live in the moment,” said Ruelas, whose Lakers fell 48-36 in the regional semis to Manton last year.

But whether the Lakers advanced past the Rangers (17-3) or not, 2018 will go down as a banner year.

That’s because the team took down Mesick 66-12 last Thursday, cementing a three-way tie with Buckley and Frankfort atop the 2018 Northwest Conference standings. Each team finished 14-2 in league play this season.

“We wanted to have it outright, but when you enter the gym 20 years from now, nobody is going to remember that (we didn’t),” Ruelas said. “I told the guys, ‘Nobody can take that away from you. You’re conference champs.’”

Max Lerchen poured in a season high 22 points in the victory while Joey Fosmore and Drew Peterson poured in 12 points apiece. Xander Okerlund chipped in with 10.

The winner of last night’s game will play either Grand Traverse Academy or Traverse City St. Francis in the district finals tomorrow night at 7 p.m. The district champ will play in Houghton Lake Monday at 5:30 p.m.; the regional final is slated two days later at 7 p.m.

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