GREEN: Lake boys basketball coach Tom McBride understands the importance of making free throws.
So do his players. Four Blue Streaks stepped to the line Tuesday night in the fourth quarter at Green. Seniors Jonny Flower and Mitchell Spotleson both made four free throws, junior Chase Champagne made two and sophomore Chandler Vaudrin added one to help Lake take a 46-40 nonleague victory.
Lake (13-0) remained undefeated by converting 11-of-13 free throws in the fourth quarter and 14-of-18 in the game.
“Championship teams win by shooting great at the free-throw line on the road,” McBride said.
Senior Alex Belinsky led Lake with 10 points, three blocks and two steals. Spotleson chipped in eight points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Green (8-4) led 12-9 after one quarter, and the score was tied 16-16 at halftime.
Lake concluded the third quarter on a 10-5 run and led 30-26 going into the fourth quarter. Champagne and Flower both made 3-pointers to start the spurt, and layups from Spotleson and Belinsky ended the spurt.
Lake never trailed again and maintained its lead with free throws and a 3-pointer by Belinsky. The Streaks’ advantage grew to nine points with 1:28 to go, but the Bulldogs hung in there.
“I just recall in my mind a Chase Champagne [3-pointer] from the corner, a Jonny Flower 3 out top, Alex Belinsky getting on the floor and tipping one to Mitch [who got fouled and made two free throws] at the 2:06 mark [of the third quarter],” McBride said. “We just made the plays that needed to be made to win in an environment like this tonight.”
Senior Carson Corle paced Green with 11 points and eight rebounds and senior Nicholas Reale contributed 10 points and three assists. Junior Kenton Keeslar scored eight points and junior Austin Marciniak finished with seven points.
“We have been playing Lake for about eight to 10 years now and every game has gone down to the wire like that,” Green coach Mark Kinsley said. “I thought the difference this year in Lake’s team than in the past is their defense. I think this is the best they have ever defended. The issues we had offensively were directly caused by their defense.”
Flower, Vaudrin and senior Caleb Peach each scored seven points, and Champagne finished with five.
“I loved it,” McBride said. “I thought that was a tournament-type basketball game. I thought that was exactly the challenge that was going to be at hand by both teams. It was physical. I thought both teams had to play through a lot tonight. We were fortunate to have our experience show up in the last four to five minutes of that game.
“We executed big plays when we needed to. I like how we executed our sets offensively.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.