The Spring Lake boys basketball team suffered their eighth loss by seven points or less this season Wednesday night, as Comstock Park came away with a narrow 50-48 road win in O-K Blue Conference action.
The Panthers took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter and a 28-22 lead into halftime. The Lakers came out motivated in the third quarter, running out to a 13-4 run to take a 35-32 into the fourth quarter.
The Panthers would take advantage of four missed free throws by Spring Lake and a late-game turnover to tie the game at 48 with 20 seconds remaining on a 3-point field goal. On the ensuing possession, the Lakers attempted a game-winning 3-point attempt, but a loose-ball foul on the rebound resulted in two free throw attempts for Comstock Park with two seconds remaining on the clock.
The Panthers would sink both attempts to take the lead, as Spring Lake was forced to resort to a half-court heave at the buzzer, which fell short.
Cayden Ball led the Laker offense with 11 points, while Grant Kieft added 10 points. Zach Keyser recorded a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Spring Lake is now 4-13 overall and 1-8 in the O-K Blue Conference.
"It's a familiar script this season," said Spring Lake head coach Bill Core. "That's our eighth loss by seven points or less this season. We just can't seem to close out games late. Tonight, there was a few plays late that determined the game. I thought we had a good look at the basket at the end of the game.
"It's disappointing that a foul was called in that situation. We'll have to go back and look at the tape, but we felt like Cayden absorbed a lot of contact on that last shot and the loose-ball foul was a tough break, too."
The Lakers will look to bounce back at West Catholic (8-7) on Friday. The last time the two teams met, West Catholic stole a 57-54 road win over Spring Lake.
"It's frustrating for me because I know how hard the guys are playing," said Core. "I told them after the game that we have three more games to figure out how to close out these kinds of games. We are so close to figuring things out, but we have to go out and do it.
"Zach Keyser was a beast on the boards tonight. He's normally not the tallest guy on the court, but he wins with effort and technique. He really helped us get going in the second half. Cayden Ball had 10 of his 11 points in the first half to get us going initially, while Grant Kieft got hot late in the third quarter."
Freshmen: Spring Lake defeated Comstock Park, 49-34. Dylan Lisman was the team leader with 10 points, three steals and three assists, while Carter Sabo led the team with seven rebounds and also had five points. The Lakers are now 13-2 for the season and 8-0 in O-K Blue Conference play.
Fourth-quarter run sinks Spring Lake girls
The Spring Lake girls basketball team hosted Comstock Park on Wednesday for an O-K Blue Conference make-up game.
Comstock Park took a 10-8 lead after the first quarter, but the Lakers responded by outscoring the Panthers 14-10 in the second frame to take a 22-20 into halftime.
Spring Lake extended its lead to 34-28 heading into the fourth quarter, but Comstock Park would end the game on a 20-10 run to steal a 48-44 conference road win.
The Lakers led by six points with two minutes to play, but could not manage to seal the win.
“The girls played 30 minutes of great basketball against the second-place team in our conference,” said Spring Lake head coach Cavin Mohrhardt.
The Lakers outrebounded the Panthers 37-26, but Comstock Park only committed eight turnovers compared to 24 for Spring Lake.
Madeline Zenas led the Lakers with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Jenna Core poured in 13 points and seven rebounds. Phoebe Saunders had nine assists, while Jennifer Judge and Laney Peasley held Comstock Park’s leading scorer to 12 points.
The Lakers (6-8, 2-7 O-K Blue) will hit the road Friday for an O-K Blue Conference road game against Grand Rapids West Catholic (8-6, 3-5 O-K Blue) at 7:30 p.m.