In a battle of the Lakers and Panthers, it was the Lakers who turned out to have nine lives.
Spring Lake beat Comstock Park in overtime of Monday's Class B regional clash at Godwin Heights High School, 62-60. The victory was the first regional win in school history for the Lakers.
"Obviously I can't be prouder," said Lakers’ coach Bill Core, whose team will meet No. 1-ranked Godwin Heights in Wednesday’s regional title game. "Just a special place in Spring Lake history is what they've done. It's been one of those years where it's been hard-fought, but (a) district championship, conference championship and winning our first regional game has made it pretty special."
Comstock Park trailed 45-35 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Panthers rallied. A Tyler Willacker jumper following an offensive rebound with 1.5 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 57. Spring Lake's Charlie Warber threw the ball the length of the floor, but the Lakers were unable to get off a shot.
Spring Lake had just blown a fourth-quarter lead against a balanced, solid shooting team with its season on the line — for the second time in four nights. The scene was eerily similar to Friday's district title game against Coopersville and, once again, Spring Lake made sure the movie had a happy ending — via some clutch free throw shooting from the Lakers’ perimeter players.
"Those are the most fun games to play in," said Spring Lake guard Kyle Zietlow, who hit key free throws in both of the Lakers’ two do-or-die contests. "We knew it was going to be a close game from here on out if we kept on winning. We weren't planning on going into overtime when we were up by 10 going into the fourth, but that's how it played out."
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