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Spring Lake boys hoops team finishes Cornerstone Showcase in style

Duncan MacLean • Dec 30, 2017 at 1:30 AM

GRAND RAPIDS — Act Two traditionally features rising action and the introduction of conflict. The Cornerstone Christmas Showcase broke that mold this week.

The Spring Lake boys basketball team returned to the Coach E Court at Cornerstone University for the second round of the Grand Rapids gathering Friday night, taking on Wayland for third place in the blue bracket, dominating the Wildcats, 58-40.

The win improves the Lakers' record to 5-1 on the season.

"This was a nice win for us tonight," Spring Lake head coach Bill Core said. "It has been a busy break. To be 5-1 at this time of the year is pretty special."

It was a story of runs Friday, as Wayland opened the game with a 9-0 jaunt via back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers. After giving up 14 shots from downtown on Tuesday in an 87-63 loss to Forest Hills Central, it was an alarming start for the Lakers.

They responded heartily, finishing the quarter on a 13-1 tear, snagging the one and only lead change of the game at 10-9 with three minutes left in the quarter. Wayland earned a trip to the line for a single point, giving the Lakers a 16-10 lead at the first break.

"We got down on that 9-0 run and it was a little bit of, ‘Holy smokes, here we go again,"’ Core said. "We responded well and got it done tonight with defense and rebounding."

Both teams dialed in for the second quarter, as the Wildcats ruffled Spring Lake with alternating man-to-man, and matchup zone defenses, while the Lakers used uncharacteristically hot outside shooting to stay ahead in the game.

At halftime, Spring Lake held a precarious 27-23 lead, after a final-possession 3-ball from Kyle Wiersma.

"I watched a few of their games on tape, and they played zero man, all zone," Core said. "Then, they came out in the first half and threw it all at us, and I'm like, ‘What the heck.’ Thankfully, we were able to respond."

An 18-4 third quarter for the Lakers sealed the deal, as Griffin Lorimer revitalized his post game, scoring 10 points in the paint. Meanwhile, Wayland's shots went cold as the Lakers held them to just two buckets on 15.4 percent shooting, including 0-for-10 from downtown.

"The biggest switch, probably, was Griffin Lorimer. At halftime, Griffin had hit two outside shots, but I had to remind him he was a post player," Core said. "He took it to heart and really attacked the basket in the third quarter and showed off his post game."

The final quarter saw improved jump shooting for Wayland, but it was too little, too late. The Lakers hung on with competent free-throw shooting for the victory.

Lorimer led the way for Spring Lake with 16 points, ahead of Jack VanWingen with 14, Sam Johnson with nine, Kyle Wiersma with eight, Ben Arteaga with six, Sam Negen with four and Adam Boes with a single point.

VanWingen's 14 points paired with nine rebounds and seven assists earned him All-Tournament honors.

Carter Nyp led the Wildcats with a game-high 20 points, nine of which came on threes in the opening quarter.

"Nyp got hot at the beginning. He is going to play for Cornerstone next year, so he looked right at home," Core said. "It was a bit of a ‘here we go again’ situation, but we did a good job defending him with different guys. Sam Negen guarded him, Griffin guarded him and Sam (Johnson) guarded him, all with different looks, and we did a good job of getting physical with him and making him work to be able to throw three different guys on him and not have to double team. Though with 20 points, maybe we should have. It is a nice way to play defense and it's something that a lot of teams don't have the luxury of using."

The victory improves the Lakers to 5-1 on the season after an arduous pre-conference schedule featuring four Class-A matchup and two rivalry games.

"I had to confess to the guys after the game, that in looking at our schedule if you were to ask me what our record would be finishing 2017, I would guess 3-3. To be 5-1 right now is pretty special," Core said. "I'm proud of these guys. We know there is a lot of room for improvement, but this is a good start. It is time to get some rest after three games and a lot of practice over Christmas break."

Junior varsity: Spring Lake fell to Wayland 62-72 to drop to 3-3 on the season.

Freshmen: Spring Lake defeated Wayland 67-41 to improve to 4-2 on the season.

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