Otsego's senior A.C. Limes (53) puts up two points over Lake's senior Marcus Pierce (54).
TONTOGANY — At the outset, the Northern Buckeye Conference clash between Lake and Otsego seemed to be shaping up into a one-sided contest with the Flyers ruling play.
Lake led Otsego by as much as a dozen points halfway through the second quarter before the first of several momentum swings turned it into a close contest.
A.C. Limes sparked a strong second-half effort by the Knights, scoring 14 of his game-high 21 points after halftime to lead Otsego to a 65-57 victory over Lake.
"We just knew we had to play basketball the way we always play," said Limes, a 6-foot-4 senior post. "We had to get the ball inside and score. If we could get the ball inside that would open things up on the outside."
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The Knights (8-1, 4-0 NBC) handed the Flyers (8-1, 3-1 NBC) their first loss of the season, and it required a balanced scoring attack led by Limes, who didn't score a point in the first quarter that ended with Lake leading 19-9.
Jerome Griffin also went scoreless in the opening quarter before he found his stroke to finish with 16 points for Otsego. Ryan Smoyer and John Thomas also finished in double figures by scoring 12 points apiece.
Lake's Jared Rettig and Jayce Vancena scored 17 aand 16 points, respectively, to lead the Flyers. Connor Bowen added 10 points.
Nonetheless, the Flyers, who owned a 23-11 advantage midway through the second quarter after putting together a 12-3 run, were outscored 37-28 after halftime by the Knights.
Otsego coach Jim Bostdorff said the Knights, who went into halftime trailing the Flyers 29-28, made a few adjustments at the break that made a difference in the second half.
"We settled down and played defense," Bostdorff said. "We did a little better job on their screen-and-rolls. They're a good team and their guys can shoot the basketball.
"I thought we were right in their grills on some of them and they still buried the shots."
Lake coach Ryan Bowen credited the Knights with doing a better job of finishing the game.
"Basketball is a game of momentum, a game of runs, and we had ours early and they had theirs late and it helped them," Bowen said. "We were on fire when it started, and then we got cold."
Lake shot the ball well from the perimeter early. The Flyers made nine 3-pointers, including four in the first quarter that ended with Lake owning a 10-point lead. Cody Witt connected on two 3-pointers in the opening quarter, while Tyler Landis and Rettig each swished one apiece.
Yet, the Knights slowly chipped away at the Flyers’ lead and came out of the opening quarter trailing by only one.
"We knew we had to settle down and we had to get hands on their shooters," Limes said. "We knew eventually they couldn’t shoot like that all night and they had to stop it."
Limes and Griffin came out in the third quarter and scored seven points apiece during the quarter to help Otsego establish momentum after halftime. The Knights went up by as much as eight points in the period before taking a 48-47 lead into the fourth quarter.
Otsego outscored Lake 17-10 in the final quarter to remain undefeated in league.
Contact Donald Emmons at:
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