Plantz’s 18 propels Comets to 55-45 win over Lake


By Nicholas Huenefeld

Special to the Sentinel-Tribune

MILLBURY — The Genoa boys basketball team overcame an 11-2 deficit to produce a 55-45 win over Lake on Friday behind a game-high 18 points from Walter Plantz.

With the win, Genoa (15-5, 10-3) stays in a tie for first place in the NBC with Fostoria, who beat Eastwood on Friday to move to 10-3 in league play. Lake is eliminated from a possible league title, falling to 13-7 overall and 7-5 in the NBC.

“I think the main thing in this game was that we gave Genoa a couple extra opportunities, and I thought Genoa got all of the 50/50 balls,” said Lake coach Luke Hickey. “They were able to execute on those, and I thought that’s what really killed us.”

The Flyers opened the game making five of their first nine shots with Caleb Tobias (5) and Dylan Wiley (4) combining for nine of their team’s points during the 11-2 run. Genoa responded with the final seven points of the quarter, including a second-chance basket from Plantz on the final possession.

Genoa’s Jon Huston completed a 12-0 run with a three-pointer on the second quarter’s third possession. Drew Tajblik stopped that spurt with a bucket as Lake eventually knotted the score at 19 apiece following a three-pointer from Carter Behlmer.

Following that, Plantz started to take control as the Genoa big man scored six straight to force a Lake timeout. He then added two more late, giving him 10 points in the quarter alone and pushing his team’s lead to 27-19 at the break.

“When (Plantz) plays well like that, it really opens the floor for everyone else, and he does a lot of great things for us defensively and on the glass, as well,” said Genoa coach Jon Sandwisch.

Genoa continued the strong play over the first three-plus minutes of the third, scoring seven of the quarter’s first 10 points for a 34-22 lead, their largest of the game. The Flyers responded by making five of their next eight baskets to pull within three following a layup from Preston Snyder.

Down five after three, Lake knotted things up quickly in the fourth. Wiley nailed a three-pointer on the opening possession before forcing a turnover, which quickly turned into a fast break layup for Tajblik the other way.

Genoa, however, got a three-pointer from Ryan Routson and back-to-back buckets from Denver Stewart for a 7-0 run.

“It’s the same thing I’ve seen all year,” Sandwisch said. “Teams go on runs against us, and we don’t blink. We just take the punch. And I really think that speaks a lot of how mature we are and how we can handle that without me having to burn a timeout.”

A short time later, Tajblik sank a pair from the charity stripe to pull the Flyers within three with under two minutes left.

Plantz, however, then helped his team seize the victory as the Comets scored the game’s final seven points. The 6-foot-7 sophomore made a shot in the post and then added an offensive board moments later after his team made just one of four from the foul line, which led to a pair of free throws. Lake, meanwhile, missed their final five shots from the field.

“As cliche as it sounds, I thought we shot the ball really well to start,” Hickey said. “We still did not get out in transition as much as we wanted to.

“We wanted to really score in 11 seconds or less … I thought that was a deficiency in our game today. We didn’t play as fast as we wanted to and credit to Genoa (for that). They made it tough on us.”

Genoa had six players score at least six points including Huston with nine. Lake’s Snyder had a team-best 11 points while Tobias and Travis Merrill each added nine.

“Plantz certainly made a difference,” Hickey said. “You can’t really hide him anywhere. He’s a big body.

“I thought what he did tonight that was exceptional was his passing. I thought he passed out of the post well and when he didn’t, he was able to put the ball in the basket.”

The Flyers were hurt by a 2-for-14 performance from long distance in the second half. On the flip side, Genoa made 5-for-13 over the final three quarters. The two teams combined to shoot 10-for-23 from the foul line.

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