The Lakers’ chances at beating Grand Haven for the first time in a quarter-century didn’t look good when starting forward Erik Johnson came down with the flu and couldn’t play.
That’s because nobody in the gym expected Johnson’s replacement — 5-foot-9 sophomore guard Kyle Zietlow — to scorch the nets for a career-high 15 points.
“Losing your starting post in Erik Johnson with the flu right before the game, we insert Kyle Zietlow and he has a career night,” said Lakers’ coach Bill Core after Spring Lake’s 50-42 victory over the Bucs. “I don’t know. I guess sometimes it’s meant to be. Kyle came in and got us off to a great start.”
Zietlow banged down a 3-pointer and also hit a long jumper, helping the Lakers race out to a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.
“Either from the corner or straight away from the top, that’s where I’m comfortable shooting,” Zietlow said. “It feels good to beat them. I know we haven’t beaten them in a while.”
Zietlow finished with 10 points in the half and 15 points overall as he knocked down several pressure-packed free throws late in the game.
His teammates showed plenty of faith in him, and appreciated his efforts after the game.
“Kyle stepped up big for us,” said Lakers’ senior Austin Johnson. “He had a great game. He got open looks and he knocked them down.”