2018-03-22 / Sports


Lakers to play No. 1 Monroe St. Mary in first trip to semis since ‘96
By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor

Peyton McDonough picked off the inbounds pass along the right baseline with about one second showing on the clock and — in one seamless, windmill motion — heaved up a 16-footer from a seemingly impossible angle.

Nothing but net.

“It was pretty magical,” said teammate Xander Okerlund, who swished a jumper about two seconds before McDonough’s buzzer-beater.

The circus shot capped a 20-7 third-quarter surge and seemed to be the dagger Tuesday as No. 5 Glen Lake motored past No. 4 Iron Mountain in a Class C quarterfinal matchup at Petoskey High School, 66-49.

The Lakers (23-2) will take on No. 1 Monroe St. Mary (25-0) at the Breslin Center in East Lansing today at 2 p.m. The winner will play an unranked opponent — either Detroit Edison (15- 10) or Grand Rapids Covenant Christian (22-4) — in the state championship game Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

“I’m just so pumped,” said senior big man Cade Peterson, who put Glen Lake on his back with 12 points in the third quarter. “Going to the Breslin is something I’ve dreamed of since playing youth basketball.”

Peterson pursued those dreams with reckless abandon in the third quarter after Iron Mountain’s star freshman, Foster Wonders, put the Mountaineers up 33-31. Peterson, who was playing through foul trouble, was anything but cautious as he scored the game’s next six points.

Fellow members of Glen Lake’s vaunted “big three,” Okerlund and Reece Hazelton, promptly followed suit with a pair of contested layups that put the Lakers up by a dozen. The Mountaineers — who started one freshman, two sophomores and two juniors this season — had no answer.

“Congratulations to Glen Lake,” said Iron Mountain coach Harvey Johnson. “They’re long; they’re athletic and they took it to us. We made a heck of a comeback in the second quarter, but they had another spurt on us and we never could recover in the fourth. They’re a good team.”

Fast starts from Glen Lake’s regional final heroes, Okerlund and Hazelton, helped the Lakers open up a 16-point lead in the first quarter, but Wonders and the Mountaineers responded with a run of their own and trimmed the Glen Lake lead to three, 30-27, by halftime.

Glen Lake coach Rich Ruelas said he told his boys to stay in attack mode and to stop settling for jumpers.

They must have been listening.

“We’re playing really good team basketball right now,” said Hazelton, who followed up his 29-point showing in the regional final with 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists. “We’re moving the ball around, taking good shots and making the extra pass.”

Peterson poured in 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds while Okerlund pitched in 17 points — including a first-half dunk — plus eight rebounds and four assists.

Okerlund and Hazelton each said the goal of playing at the Breslin Center is one they’ve been chasing for years.

“I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life,” Okerlund said.

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