Another big game by Austin Johnson — this one coming almost exclusively at the free throw line — lifted Spring Lake to a hard-fought 65-56 win at Grant.
Johnson scored a game-high 27 points, thanks to a 17-of-20 performance at the free throw line. The Lakers’ senior almost single-handedly forced Grant’s second-leading scorer, Nick Brown, to foul out of the game with only seven points.
With the win, Spring Lake remains atop the Lakes Eight Conference at 6-0 while improving to 10-2 on the season.
Lakers’ coach Bill Core said Grant forced Spring Lake to play a more up-tempo style.
“We haven’t had anybody that’s really gone at us, trying to press us, fast break, run and gun,” Core said. “We feel like we can play a lot of different styles, but nobody’s tried to push us to that style yet.
“We shot just over 30 percent, and a lot of those misses were in the paint. I don’t know how much of that was because it was a rushed, fast-paced game, but truthfuly, we scored 65 tonight and we probably should have been over 80.”
Nick Goeglein scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and held Grant center Dakota Scholten to just one point.
J.P. Batts also had a nice game, dropping in a pair of 3-pointers and finishing with 12 points.
Justin Bull scored 24 for Grant.
“Those were an impressive 24 points,” Core said. “He had Charlie Warber and J.P. Batts, two very good defenders, on him all night, and he hit some tough shots. Hats off to him. He had a whale of a game.”
Spring Lake led by just three points, 43-40, going into the fourth quarter, but put the game away with 22 points in the fourth, 17 of which came from the free throw line. Austin Johnson was 12-of-16 from the line in the fourth quarter alone.
As a team, Spring Lake made 24 free throws.
The Lakers return to action next Friday at Orchard View.