Fremont had no chance to win the Lakes Eight Conference title against Spring Lake on Thursday, but it did have a chance to spoil the Lakers’ perfect conference record.
That’s just what the visiting Packers did, making a comeback midway through the fourth quarter after leading for the entire first half to win, 63-56.
Lakers’ coach Bill Core said that his squad obviously wanted to finish undefeated in the Lakes Eight, but that the loss was a lot easier to swallow knowing they had already clinched the outright conference crown.
“When we beat Ludington Monday we won conference outright, and that took a little pressure off this game,” Core said. “Winning this game would have been the icing on the cake. We earned the cake, we didn’t get the icing.”
The loss ended a 23-game Lakes Eight winning streak for Spring Lake dating back to last season, a streak that is especially remarkable when you consider that the Lakers lost four starters off last year’s squad.
“We already won the conference championship, but this a rivalry, and you always want to win those,” said Nick Goeglein, the only full-time returning starter from last season’s team. “It’d definitely be a perk (to finish undefeated), but a conference championship was our goal. No one thought it would be one or two losses that would win the league, they thought it would be three or four. It’s still a statement to win it with only one.”
Spring Lake trailed for nearly the entire first half on Thursday, tying the game briefly in the second quarter at 29 before Fremont took a 31-29 lead into halftime.
There were four ties in the third quarter. Two Nathan Batts’ free throws put the Lakers up temporarily at 37-36, before an inside look by Goeglein started a more permanent one at 44-42.
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