By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal
For the second time in as many games, the Spring Lake Lakers need overtime to advance in the boys state basketball tournament. This time, they snuck past Comstock Park, 62-60, for the school’s first-ever regional victory.
Spring Lake will take on top-ranked Wyoming Godwin Heights in Wednesday’s 7 p.m. regional title game. Godwin Heights defeated Holland Christian in the nightcap of the regional games played at Godwin Heights.
Kyle Zietlow hit a pair of free throws with less than 30 second left in overtime to put Spring Lake up 61-60.
Nathan Batts followed up by splitting a pair of free throws after he got a steal and was fouled with 16 seconds left.
Comstock Park would have a couple chances as time ran out. The first came on an open 3-pointer that missed, the rebound was tipped and a last second shot missed the mark.
The Lakers battled Coopersville in the Class B district finals to an overtime win and Laker coach Bill Core recognized his teams’ desire to win.
“These kids have persevered a lot,” said Core. “Coopersville prepared us to show we’ve been here and done that before. Tonight was the same thing. We got gutsy stops and got key points. I give my kids a lot of credit. Two consecutive overtime games.”
The Lakers got off to a slow start, but were able to wake up just before half and set up a big third quarter.
Spring Lake went on a 7-0 run to cut an 8-point deficit. Comstock Park led to 28-27 at the half. The Lakers then outscored Comstock Park 20-7 in the third quarter to take a 12-point lead, 47-35.
“It was a balanced attack,” said Core of his teams’ third-quarter surge. “It was just a great team effort with five different guys scoring in the third quarter.”
The Lakers were consistent free throw line as well, making 12 of 16 on the night.
Spring Lake had four players post double figure nights on offense as senior center Nick Goeglein led with 16 points.
Zietlow also led Spring Lake with 13 points and Batts would score 13 as well. Keegan George put up a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and also had five assists, two steals and two blocks.
Comstock Park kept itself in the game on a big night from behind the 3-point line with nine 3’s.
“They hit nine 3’s and it’s nover very often you hit that many and lose,” said Core whose team has now won 18 of it’s last 20 games since Christmas and is now 18-6 overall.