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Stevensville Lakeshore advances to Class B final with comeback win over Big Rapids

Basketball   | Jeff Dullack

Stevensville Lakeshore advances to Class B final with comeback win over Big Rapids

East Lansing – When Stevensville Lakeshore fell behind by seven points early in the fourth quarter of its Class B semifinal against Big Rapids, the Lancers turned to its defense and size advantage, two key factors behind Lakeshore’s success this season.

The Lakeshore defense limited Big Rapids to just four points in the final four minutes and clutch free throw shooting late from 6-foot-11 center Braden Burke and 6-7 forward Max Gashin as the Lancers would earn a 61-60 win to advance to the Class B state final for the second time in school history.

In the Class B final, Lakeshore (20-9) will face Detroit Henry Ford, who topped Williamston in the first Class B semifinal of the day on Friday.

“We kind of rely on throwing the ball inside,” Lakeshore coach Sean Schroeder said. “When you’ve got guys their size, that seems to make sense and we also rely on our defense. I give Big Rapids a lot of credit, because a lot of times they made our defense look not very good, but that’s what happens when you make 3’s. But at the end of the game, we got stops and found a way to win.”

After falling behind 53-46 to start the fourth quarter, Lakeshore used back-to-back baskets from Logan Steffes and Burke to cut the deficit down to just three points near the midway point of the quarter.

Big Rapids’ Kenny Davis knocked down his fifth 3-pointer of the game to push the Cardinal lead back to six, 56-50, with four minutes left to play. 

Davis hit four of his five three pointers in the second half, helping the Cardinals (23-3) pull ahead in the second half.

“I just started relaxing,” Davis said of his success in the second half. “I started shooting like I’m supposed to and how I’ve been the whole season.”

Demetri Martin scored a game-high 22 points and Davis finished with 15 points to lead Big Rapids.

But the Lancers answered right back, less than 20 seconds later when Gibson Archer knocked down a 3-pointer of his own, followed by a steal and layup by Steffes two minutes later to cut the Big Rapids lead down to just one.

Schroeder said that Archer’s 3-pointer was crucial for his team and added that he felt the momentum shift in Lakeshore’s favor after Steffes’ steal.

“It was very important,” he said. “I kind of felt that the game was slipping away from us when they got up by six or seven, but our kids were very resilient, they made plays and that 3-pointer was very, very big. I kind of felt the momentum shift right after Logan’s steal and I thought they got a little bit tentative and hesitant and we were able to find a few things that worked offensively.”

Lakeshore would then take the lead for the first time since near the midway point of the third quarter as Burke knocked down a pair of free throws with 51 seconds left and a basket from Archer would push the Lancers’ lead to 59-56 with 30 seconds left to play.

Burke said that the key to his team’s fourth quarter turnaround was its defense along with fatigue possible starting to set in for Big Rapids.

“They came out on fire early (in the second half), but I think they kind of got tired going up and down,” he said. “Their shots stopped falling and eventually, we made some big defensive plays and things just unfolded like they did.”

Burke finished with a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds, while Gaishin added in 15 points and 10 rebounds and Archer chipped in with 15 points as well in the win for the Lancers.

Gaishin’s late free throws would help seal the win for Lakeshore with just 14 seconds left to play.