NORTH CANTON: North Canton Hoover’s 19-game home winning streak is over.
Fueled by a 19-0 run that began midway through the third quarter, Lake defeated the Vikings 45-36 Friday night in a Federal League boys basketball game.
“It was a gut-wrenching win,” Lake coach Tom McBride said. “I thought our experience showed up at the end of the game.”
The defending Federal League champion Blue Streaks (2-0, 1-0) trailed twice by eight points in the third quarter, but did not yield a Hoover field goal from the 3:39 mark of the third quarter until the final horn.
Having graduated leading scorers Harrison Blackledge and Dom Iero from last season’s district championship team, Hoover struggled in the fourth quarter, turning the ball over seven times and shooting 0-for-9 from the floor.
Despite five 3-point goals by the Vikings in the first half, and two more by junior Tony Iero in the third quarter, Lake stayed in its 1-3-1 zone defense.
“There were a couple of times we talked on the bench, ‘Do we want to switch?’ We just trusted our kids and they were able to rebound out of it,” McBride said. “That was the key I was looking for.”
Lake outrebounded Hoover 31-26.
The Blue Streaks dominated inside the arc, limiting the Vikings to four points in the paint. In the meantime, Lake senior forwards Mitchell Spotleson (6-foot-5) and Caleb Peach (6-6) scored 18 and 12 points, respectively.
“It’s definitely a loud gym and Hoover has good fans,” said Spotleson, who also collected 10 rebounds and four assists. “You have to come ready to play and you have to expect that kind of thing.
“You know it’s going to be tough in here. You have to come in mentally prepared.”
After Iero’s 3-pointer put the Vikings on top 34-26 at 3:39 of the third quarter, Hoover did not score again until junior Jake Jajack made two free throws with 5.7 seconds left.
Spotleson had nine points during the 19-0 run late in the game.
Sophomore guard Chandler Vaudrin also played well for Lake, scoring seven points off the bench.
Iero and senior guard Nick Evans each had 12 points for Hoover (1-1, 0-1).
Coach Randy Montgomery’s Vikings used a 9-0 spurt to take an early 15-7 lead, but Spotleson scored six consecutive points to trim Hoover’s lead to 15-13 after one quarter.
Spotleson’s driving layup to start the second quarter tied the score at 15-15.
Junior guard Austin Blyer and Jajack connected on 3-point goals and Evans made three free throws to lift the Vikings to a 24-21 halftime lead.
“Twelve points [allowed] in the second half, that’s a tribute to how hard we’ve worked in the offseason,” Spotleson said. “We just had to stick with it.”
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