Lake’s Connor Bowen, left, and Cody Witt, right, defend Otsego’s Cody Downs on Tuesday night in Millbury. Bowen scored 20 points and Witt added 17.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
MILLBURY — The Otsego Knights had a chance to throw the Northern Buckeye Conference boys basketball race into a three-way tie for first when they traveled to unbeaten Lake Tuesday night.
Eight minutes into the game, however, that chance was snuffed out by the fast-starting Flyers, who bolted to a 22-point first-quarter lead and never looked back in a 78-48 victory.
Juniors Jared Rettig and Connor Bowen paced the Flyers (12-0, 6-0 NBC) with 22 and 20 points, respectively, and senior Cody Witt mixed four 3-pointers into his 17-point effort for Lake, which is ranked No. 6 in the latest Division II state poll.
“The last few games we’d been playing slow,” Rettig said. “We know our style of basketball, and we’re a fast team. We decided today to come out and play fast, and that gave us a 22-point lead.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Otsego outpaced early by Lake
Lake coach Ryan Bowen hoped his Flyers wouldn’t come in flat. His concerns vanished quickly, however, as the Flyers jumped all over the Knights, forcing eight first-quarter turnovers with their press, and hitting 12 of their first 18 shots from the field.
“The kids came out super excited,” coach Bowen said. “When they play with that kind of intensity and energy, it makes the rest of the game very easy for us to coach.”
Lake led just 12-6 after Otsego’s Schyler Scherff scored on a back-door layup midway in the first quarter. But the Flyers hit stride right there, hitting their final seven shots in the period, and outscoring the Knights 16-0 to end the quarter with a 22-point lead.
Rettig and Witt each scored nine of their points in that quarter, and Bowen added six.
“Sometimes we’re too unselfish,” Rettig said of Lake’s balance, “but we have a great point guard [Bowen] and he spreads it around. We’re a small team, so it’s drive-and-kick. That’s what we do.
“We’re a very confident ballclub right now. We just have to work on our defense.”
Freshman Jacob Rettig (seven points) got a steal and layup with 27 seconds left in the first, and Witt added a 3-pointer just before the first-quarter buzzer.
“They beat us on the baseline, and all that stuff happened to us,” Otsego coach Jim Bostdorff said. “We’re down 22 after one, and were just digging [out of] a hole the rest of the way.”