Local Sports Journal

Western Michigan Christian preserved its winning streak by overcoming fouls and a ferocious Spring Lake comeback.

The Warriors won their sixth game in a row by nipping the host Lakers 49-47 on Saturday night.

It wasn’t until a 3-pointer by Spring Lake’s Adam Clauss hit the rim and bounced into the corner that the Warriors could celebrate the victory.

“Every win is enjoyable, but when it goes down to the wire and you have so many guys contribute and when you have to battle like that, it does make it feel sweeter,” WMC coach Kyle Mastenbrook said.

The Warriors were cruising along in the early going with a 15-6 lead after one quarter and 29-17 at the half, but then trouble set in with fouls. By the middle of the third quarter, Mastenbrook was doing some serious lineup juggling as junior post player Bernard Smith had four fouls and two others with three fouls.

At one point in the third quarter, the Warriors had been whistled for 18 fouls to Spring Lake’s 5.

“With our foul trouble we were not overmatching them in front court like with usually do with Bernard in the game so that limited some of our plays that we were able to run,” Mastenbrook said. “We tried to slow it down a little bit and take some time off the clock.”

The Warriors also were able to keep a close eye on Laker leading scorer Austin Johnson, who finished with 17 points.

“He’s a tough player, but we also had some tough kids defending him,” Mastenbrook said. “It was great to watch them battle every play. We’d win some battles, he’d win some battles, but that’s what is going to happen when you have good players going at it.

“It’s hard work running through that many screens,” Mastenbrook said. “Logan Waller did a great job with him. James Jackson and Alex Rop were also in that group, but they both got in foul trouble guarding him.”

Spring Lake outscored WMC 30-20 in the second half, led by Johnson with 14 points. Kyle Zietlow and Charlie Warber both hit key 3-pointers in the final quarter in which the Lakers were battling back.

In the final seconds, Warber hit his 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining. After two missed free throws, Spring Lake had one last chance with 10.8 seconds remaining, but the 3-point attempt was just off the mark.

Henry DeKam led the Warriors with 13 points and eight rebounds. Smith had eight points and 11 rebounds. Nate Taylor and James Jackson each had seven points.

Besides Johnson’s 17 points, the Lakers received 10 points from Erik Johnson and eight points from post player Nick Goeglein.


Western Michigan Christian 49, Spring Lake 47

Nate Taylor 2 1-4 7, James Jackson 3 1-2 7, Alex Rop 1 0-0 2, Henry DeKam 5 3-4 13, Bernard Smith 4 0-2 8, Logan Waller 2 0-1 5, Chaise Schuiteman 1 1-2 3, Christian Brower 2 0-0 4. Totals 20 6-15 49.

Adam Clauss 1 2-3 4, Charlie Warber 1 0-2 3, Austin Johnson 4 9-12 17, Erik Johnson 2 6-8 10, Nick Goeglein 3 2-4 8, Kyle Zietlow 1 0-0 3, Keegan George 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 19-29 47.

WMC 15 – 14 – 8 – 12 — 49
SL 6 – 11 – 15 – 15 — 47
3-pointers: Taylor (2), Waller, Zietlow, Warber. Total fouls: WMC 20, Spring Lake 11. Fouled out: none. Technicals: none. JV: WMC 50-32.