Glen Lake beats St. Mary Catholic Central, 62-56, to advance to first Class C Final since 1996
East Lansing – Heading into Thursday afternoon’s Class C semifinal against Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, Maple City Glen Lake knew its outside shooting would be a key factor if the Lakers were going to advance to its first state final since 1996.
Glen Lake knocked down 10 3-pointers, including four in the first quarter, as the Lakers jumped out to an early lead and held off St. Mary Catholic Central late for a 62-56 win.
In Glen Lake’s first finals appearance in 22 years, the Lakers will face Detroit Edison, which defeated Grand Rapids Covenant Christian in the first semifinal of the day at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Glen Lake head coach Rich Ruelas said that while his team knocked down outside shots effectively, he felt the key to that was the Laker’s ability to work inside-out on the offensive end.
“I thought we did a really nice job of not forcing them,” he said. “We didn’t want to come out just firing, but play inside out. Get touches inside and once they collapse, it’ll open up, we’ve got guys that can absolutely knock it down. But we don’t want to go down (the court) in one or two passes and a shot, we wanted to really make their defense work.”
Trailing 48-41 early in the fourth quarter, St. Mary Catholic Central (25-1) would quickly cut the deficit down to two, following five straight points from Mitchel Sherrard after his 3-pointer with 6:08 left to play.
But the Lakers would respond shortly after as sophomore Reece Hazelton knocked down one of his five 3-pointers on the day and a Cade Peterson dunk would push the lead back to five, 53-48 with 4:30 left to play.
“Reece is another one who is a big part of what we do,” Ruelas said. “I think Cade (Peterson) is our heartbeat, but Reece is right up there, his emotional leadership is really important to our team and he exudes this confidence that we feed off of. When he’s confident, we’re rolling and it’s fun.”
St. Mary Catholic Central head coach Randy Windham said that he felt that every time his team cut the deficit down to two or four, Glen Lake would take advantage of second chance opportunities.
“I think it was just second chance opportunities,” he said. “We would catch up and take a breath, to be honest with you like ‘Okay, we’re back in it’, but against a team like that, they’re a very good team. We took a breath at times and they had a couple of second chance opportunities and the next thing you know, it goes from four to eight.”
Xander Oakerland led the way for Glen Lake (24-2) with a game-high 23 points, while Peterson finished with 20 points and Hazelton chipped in with 19 in the win.
St. Mary Catholic Central would again cut the deficit down to just two, following a Wyatt O’Brien put back, but Glen Lake would hold on down the stretch thanks in large part to clutch free throw shooting.
C.J. Haut led St. Mary Catholic Central with 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.