BY JOSH WEIR
Repository sports writer
PLAIN TWP. When all else fails, keep defending.
Never able to get in a flow offensively, the Lake High School boys basketball team stonewalled GlenOak in the second half and squeezed out a 48-39 Federal League win on the road Tuesday night.
The Blue Streaks (11-0, 7-0) — ranked No. 6 in the Division I state Associated Press poll — held the Golden Eagles scoreless for more than eight minutes of an offense-deficient second half to stay perfect.
“We just knew if we kept going on the defensive end and shut them down, we’d get some shots to fall and we’d be there at the end,” Lake senior wing player Alex Belinsky said. “We were able to knock down some free throws and pull it out.”
The Blue Streaks made 9 of 11 free throws in the final two minutes to prevent GlenOak from getting its deficit to one possession.
Belinsky and Mitchell Spotleson scored 12 points apiece to lead the defending league champs, who lead this year’s race by two games in the loss column on second-place Jackson. Spotleson grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
With an emerging GlenOak team not backing down an inch and leading by as many as 10 in the first half, Lake refused to panic.
The Blue Streaks methodically took control after halftime.
There is a reason they are 32-4 since the beginning of last year.
“I think when you bring a nucleus of guys back that had nine games they won by four points or less last year, the rattle factor is not there for us,” Lake head coach Tom McBride said. “We understand how to dig in and that it’s a 32-minute game. We just continue to find a way. They communicate with each other on the court and they understand each other’s strengths. I think those things shine through in clutch moments.”
Lake went to the half down 27-23. Tied 32-32, Spotleson hit a turnaround jumper and Chase Champagne made his second 3-pointer of the third quarter to give Lake a 37-32 lead heading to the fourth.
Amazingly, the score stayed there for almost six minutes of the final period as neither team could buy a bucket.
After going up and down with GlenOak early in the game, Lake shifted gears and played more of a possession game as the second half progressed.
“Being able to make those in-game adjustments has been critical for us,” McBride said. “I think it shows the basketball IQ and the togetherness that this team has.”
Champagne scored eight points and had three assists. Chandler Vaudrin, a 6-3 sophomore, made a nice impact off the bench with five points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
After breaking down Lake’s defense numerous times in the first half and shooting 11-of-21 from the floor — including 5-of-8 from 3-point range — GlenOak went ice cold.
The Golden Eagles made only 5-of-20 shots from the field in the second half.
Jacob Boring totaled 11 points, three assists and three steals for GlenOak (7-5, 4-4), while Stan Williams added 10 points and five rebounds. Jake Merrell grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for the Golden Eagles, who have suffered four of their losses to Lake and Jackson — both of them state ranked.
“It takes a break or two to beat a team like them,” GlenOak head coach Jack Greynolds Jr. said about Lake. “We’ll eventually get to the point where we create those breaks and get a win like that. These kids are going to really take off then.”
Lake 48, GlenOak 39
LAKE (11-0, 7-0) Flower 1 2-2 4, Champagne 3 0-1 8, Belinsky 4 3-5 12, Spotleson 3 6-6 12, Peach 2 0-0 4, Vaudrin 1 2-3 5, Myers 1 0-0 3. Totals 15-35 13-17 48.
GLENOAK (7-5, 4-4) Boring 4 1-2 11, Hohman 1 1-4 3, Williams 5 0-0 10, Merrell 2 0-0 4, Andres 1 0-0 3, Grider 3 0-2 8. Totals 16-41 2-8 39.
Lake 8 15 14 11 — 48
GlenOak 15 12 5 7 — 39
3-point goals—Champagne 2, Boring 2, Grider 2, Belinsky, Vaudrin, Myers, Andres. Fouls—GlenOak 14-12. Fouled out—Boring. Rebounds—Lake 25 (Spotleson 7), GlenOak 21 (Merrell 7).