2018-03-15 / Sports

Lakers roll past Ramblers, into regional final

Lakers have limited six straight teams to fewer than 38 points

GLEN LAKE coach Rich Ruelas reacts to a call last Wednesday in the first half of a 49-29 home win over Manton. GLEN LAKE coach Rich Ruelas reacts to a call last Wednesday in the first half of a 49-29 home win over Manton. To say Glen Lake is peaking at the right time would be an understatement.

“They always say you should aim to play your best basketball in March,” Lakers coach Rich Ruelas said. “We’re getting pretty darn close.”

It showed on Monday.

Xander Okerlund poured in 18 points, Cade Peterson added 13 points and No. 5 Glen Lake throttled No. 9 McBain at Houghton Lake in the regional semifinals, 66-32.

The Lakers (21-2), who have won 17 of their last 18 games, were slated to take on Whittemore-Prescott (18- 5) in the regional final after press time last night. The winner will play No. 4 Iron Mountain or Calumet with a trip to the Breslin Center on the line Tuesday in the Class C semifinals at Petoskey.

“To be honest, it’s just the kids buying in,” Ruelas said of the hot streak. “We have worked on correcting little things all year. Now, we just do it. The communication part, they get it done. They just believe they are a lockdown team and they can guard anybody. They don’t care who they’re playing. The other thing is, for the most part, they play a heck of a lot smarter.

“They were rated No. 1 in the state for quite awhile — not that that matters — but if you think it about it, we just beat three conference champions and held all three of them under 34 points.”

The Lakers topped Manton 49-29 last Wednesday and Traverse City St. Francis 61-33 on Friday before keeping the defensive momentum rolling against the Ramblers.

Ruelas credited senior Nick Apsey for his performance against Nick Rodenbaugh, who finished with three points. Apsey also limited St. Francis standout Teddy Pritchard to one point and Manton’s Hunter Ruell to four.

“Nick is just a lockdown defender,” Ruelas said. “He does all the dirty work for us — that’s a kid who really embraces his role and does it to the best of his ability, and he has a lot of ability on the defensive end.”

Another role player, Joey Fosmore, stepped up as well. Fosmore played in place of injured Peyton McDonough and finished with 11 points.

Others followed suit.

“We came out strong and kept our foot on the gas pedal the whole game,” Peterson said of the victory. “We wanted to make a statement again and I think we did that.”

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