TONTOGANY — Connor Bowen scored 48 points to set the Lake single-game scoring record Friday, and the Flyers needed every one of his points in their game against Otsego.
|Otsego's Jalen Myers (3) guards Lake's Connor Bowen as he handle the ball during their game Friday night. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Knights pushed the eighth-ranked Flyers to the final minute, before Lake prevailed 80-72.
‘‘Otsego played their tails off tonight. They attacked the basket hard,’’ Lake head coach Ryan Bowen said. ‘‘I knew this would be tough, especially after our game Tuesday (a 75-69 win over Rossford).
‘‘Hats off to Jim (Bostdorff, Otsego head coach) for having them ready, but bigger hats off to my boys to come put and withstand their best shot, and I can’t be prouder of them right now.
Lake improved to 12-1 in the Northern Buckeye Conference and secured at least a tie for the league title. Rossford is second at 10-2 after beating Genoa, 76-64.
Otsego came into the game with a defensive plan to stop Bowen from driving the ball and then finding open teammates for 3-pointers.
‘‘He’s the best player in the league,’’ Bostdorff said about Bowen, a 6-foot junior. ‘‘We just decided that we are taking the take the three-ball away from them, and the kids bought into it hard. And if Connor Bowen scored 50, he scored 50, and he very nearly did.
‘‘He had some threes, but they only had two from the rest of the kids on the floor,’’ Bostdorff continued. ‘‘We wanted them, to score in twos, not threes.’’
Lake countered that plan by having Bowen take the ball all the way to the basket. He was 13-of-22 on 2-point field goals, 4-of-5 on threes, and 10-of-12 from the line.
‘‘They don’t want me to dish,’’ Connor Bowen said. ‘‘Tonight when their big man didn’t come and help, I just did the part and scored.’’
In a tight first quarter, Lake held a 21-20 lead after eight minutes as Bowen scored 12 points.
The Flyers were able to stretch their lead to 44-39 at the half as Bowen scored 11 points in the second quarter.
Lake’s Brandyn Neal started the second half with a basket, but Otsego made an 8-0 run to take a 47-46 lead with 6:17 left in the third quarter.
Bowen then scored the next 12 points for Lake, around a basket by Otsego’s Jalen Myers, to push the Flyers up 58-49 with 3:05 left in the quarter.
Bowen started the spurt with two free throws, then hit two step-back threes, and added two baskets in the paint.
‘‘We tired to get everybody involved, but with the defense they were playing, they were denying our shooters,’’ coach Bowen said. ‘‘We told him (Connor), that you have to take over here.’’
‘‘They started to play off me, and I started to hit the threes,’’ Connor Bowen said.
Lake stretched its lead to 65-53 with eight minutes left. Bowen scored 17 points in the quarter, including a late three for his 40th point.
Bowen broke the school record just 22 seconds in the fourth quarter on another basket in the paint.
‘‘I’m obviously very proud of him tonight,’’ coach Bowen said about his son. ‘‘He stayed strong once he got to the paint.’’
‘‘I was pretty excited, especially when the crowd went crazy,’’ Connor Bowen said. ‘‘I wondered what they were going crazy about, and I looked and I was like ‘Oh my.’
‘‘I don’t care about personal records, it’s all about the team.’’
Lake was up 72-57 with 5:28 left in the game, but the Knights made a 15-4 run to make things close. Myers made five three throws in the run, white teammates Cody Downs and Schyler Scherff each made a three.
‘‘Otsego just kept coming,’’ coach Bowen.
Neal made two free throws with 28.7 seconds, and Connor Bowen sealed the victory with two free throws with 9.3 seconds remaining.
Otsego had a turnover and two missed 3-pointers in its final three possessions. Five missed free throws, including the front end of two 1-and-1 opportunities also hurt the Knight in the fourth quarter.
‘‘At the end of the game, we panicked way too early,’’ Bostdorff said. ‘‘Those three possessions, right in a row, were killers for us.’’
Still Bostdorff was happy with the way his team played against the state-ranked Flyers.
‘‘I’m ecstatic. If that’s the effort we get the rest of the way out, we can make a run (in the tournament),’’ Bostdorff said.
Neal scored 14 points and Jared Rettig added 11 for Lake, 19-1 overall.
Myers led Otsego, 8-12, 5-8, with 27 points before fouling out with 1:00 remaining in the game. Scherff added 16 points for the Knights and John Thomas scored 12.
Lake won the junior varsity game, 42-39 in overtime. Nathan Permar scored 12 points and Aaron Witt had 10 for the Flyers. Hunter Carson scored 11 points for the Knights.
LAKE 80, OTSEGO 72
Jared Rettig, 4-1-0—11; Walters, 2-0—4; C. Witt, 0-3—3; Neal, 3-1-5—14; Bowen, 13-4-10—48; Jacob Rettig, 0-0—0. TOTALS: 22-6-8—80.
Myers, 9-1-16—27; Horseman, 2-1-0—7; Scherff, 4-2-2—16; Downs, 2-1-1—8; Thomas, 3-2-0—12; Hosely, 1-0—2; Hefflinger, 0-0—0. TOTALS: 21-7-9—72.
LAKE 21 23 21 15 —80
OTSEGO 20 19 14 19 —72
Junior varsity: Lake, 42-39, OT.