It was a sluggish start for the Lakers, who led 15-13 at the first break and 23-19 at halftime. They responded with an inspired effort down the stretch, holding the Spartans to six total points on just one made field goal in the second half.
Sam Johnson led the Spring Lake scoring with 16 points, while Griffin Lorimer added 10. Kyle Wiersma chipped in nine points, while Zach Foster scored four off the bench.
“This was a trap game, in my opinion,” Spring Lake head coach Bill Core said. “We were off of our normal schedule with midwinter break and playing a road game on a Wednesday night. On top of that, they didn’t have a couple of their best players in the starting lineup last time we played.
“This time around, they got off to a hot start and were shooting the ball well. We were able to withstand that early offense and play our style in the second half for a big conference road win.”
The Spartans kicked things off with three 3-pointers in the first half to buoy their scoring. After the quick start, they attempted to slow down the game to hamper a potent Laker offense.
“We were hoping their shooting was going to slow down, and it did,” Core said. “They started running a stall offense in the second quarter, which really limited our opportunities to build any kind of lead going into halftime.”
The Lakers broke free of the stall in the second half, ripping off a 7-0 run to start the third quarter. From there, solid defense was the name of the Spring Lake game.
“The guys didn’t panic. We got a couple quick baskets to get things going in the third quarter and carried that momentum the rest of the way,” Core said.
“We played really excellent defense tonight. They got off nine shots in the first quarter, but we clamped down after that and held them to 20 total shots for the game. If you are limiting their chances to even shoot at the basket you put yourself in a great position to win the game.”
Spring Lake finished 20-for-39 from the floor; while the Spartans finished 7-for-22, with all but one make coming in the first half.
The win improves the Lakers to 12-3 overall and 6-2 in the conference. They sit even with Coopersville in second place, two games behind undefeated Catholic Central.
They return to the court Friday to host Allendale (2-10, 1-5 O-K Blue) in a conference doubleheader.
“Allendale is a young team that is working through some inexperience,” Core said. “The last time we played them, they shot the ball well early, and we had to really grind that one out.
“Any conference game is a challenge, so even though their record doesn’t look that great, they are going to come to our place ready. We need to come out and play well early and not let them get off to a hot start.”
Tip-off for the varsity boys is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
Freshmen: Spring Lake defeated Sparta, 46-26. Logan Darling lead the team with eight points and four rebounds, while Jake Vinkemulder added six points and five rebounds. The Lakers are now 10-5 overall and 6-2 in conference.