West Michigan Lake Hawks tripped up at the buzzer in ABA playoff loss to Oakland County Firebirds

Local Sports Journal

The inaugural season of the West Michigan Lake Hawks has been worth its presence in the west Michigan community. Unfortunately their goal of reaching the ABA’s national tournament is in doubt after the team dropped a tough one to the Oakland County Firebirds, 114-112. The loss was handed to West Michigan on a buzzer beater.

“This was definitely a great game,” said Lake Hawks coach Ronald Jenkins. “Our guys played extremely hard and very physical through out the game. Oakland shot very well behind the 3-point arc which gave them the edge.”

West Michigan battled Oakland to the final moments and had five lead changes in the last 1:24 of the contest.

Brandon Givens was the man for the Lake Hawks as he scored 17 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter.

Also leading the way for West Michigan was Ralph Monday with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Nate Jennings and Will Wright both scored 12 points apiece.

“It hurts to lose a close game like this,” said Jenkins. “Our young men have worked very hard to make it to this point and to lose by a basket is just really tough.”

While the Lake Hawks had hopes of being invited to the ABA’s National tournament, the loss to Oakland hurts their chances. But there is still a chance they could be invited.

“There is an opportunity for two losing team to still make it there,” said Jenkins. “They want the best teams to compete down the line and us losing to the sixth ranked team (Chicago Steam) and now the tenth ranked team (Oakland) but by two points, shows we can and will compete with the best.”

The Lake Hawks battled for a big win on Saturday as they topped the Grand Prairie Cowboys, 142-70. West Michigan led 59-23 at halftime.

Both Wright and Monday came through with triple-doubles for West Michigan. Wright finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists while Monday tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Leading the Lake Hawks in the lopsided win was Bernard Web who finished with 23 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocks. Given poured in 29 points and had seven assists and five steals.

Luther Funches scored 24 points and had five assists and Jennings finished with 16 points.

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