SL's Johnson & Johnson provides no relief for Fruitport

Lakers' junior Austin Johnson was frustrated after spending the entire second quarter of Friday's showdown against Fruitport on the bench after being saddled with two early fouls.
Matt DeYoung
Feb 18, 2012

He took out that frustration on the Trojans with a huge third quarter, propelling the host Lakers to a 64-37 win over the visiting Trojans.

“I was just feeling pretty good, getting my shots,” Johnson said after scoring a game-high 22 points. He had eight points in the first quarter, then eight more in the third.

“I had to sit the whole second, but the big first quarter got me going,” Johnson said. “Then they started paying more attention to me, and I could set up my teammates.”

The Lakers led by just eight points at halftime, but quickly built on that lead. Michael Zietlow opened the third with a 3-pointer, then Johnson went to work. First, he set up Logan Pellegrom for an inside bucket with a sweet pass. Moments later, his dish to Erik Johnson set up a three-point play.

Johnson then went coast-to-coast and scored on a power move inside for a 36-18 lead, forcing the Trojans to call a time out.

The Lakers’ lead continued to grow from there. Johnson scored six points in the fourth quarter, then headed to the bench and watched as his teammates went to work. Austin Gabris scored a pair of fourth-quarter buckets, as did Carter Bench.

“It’s good, because they practice hard every day, too, so it’s good to see them score,” Johnson said.

Fruitport kept the game close through halftime with a gutsy effort. The Trojans, who have been decimated by injuries this season, dominated the boards in the opening half, including an 8-0 advantage on the offensive glass.

Fruitport simply couldn’t capitalize on offense.

“We got down early, but we cut it to six, but then they went on that huge run to start the third quarter, and that killed us,” said Trojans’ coach Bill Andree, whose team falls to 3-13 overall and 2-10 in league play. “We still battled. We were mentally tough. You’ve got to block their crowd out, and we did that for most of the game.”

The Trojans just had no solution for Johnson.

“We got a little lucky that he got in foul trouble in the second, but then he came back. We didn’t have any answer for him,” Andree said.

The Lakers were far from a one-man wrecking crew. Coach Bill Core’s squad received another big game from Zietlow, who knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 11 points. Erik Johnson also had a fantastic game with 11 points and six rebounds.

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