Merrill, Tobias lead Flyers to big victory


By Yaneek Smith

Special to the Sentinel-Tribune

MILLBURY — For the game’s first 16 minutes, Huron hung with Lake and showed they were capable of competing and winning the game.

But the second half was a different story as the Flyers (16-7), seeded fifth in the Norwalk district, got out on the break and scored a number of easy baskets as they slowly pulled away from the Tigers (9-14), defeating them, 72-61, in a Division III sectional semifinal at Flyer Fieldhouse.

Lake led, 33-29, at halftime after scoring two baskets in the final minute to account for the difference. Huron guard Cody Scroggins hit a three-pointer to tie the score at 29-29, but layups by Caleb Tobias and Travis Merrill gave the Flyers the lead for good at the half, and Dylan Wiley scored inside less than a minute into the second half to push the lead to six points at 35-29.

The teams traded buckets with Huron forward Jackson McNulty scoring four points, Merrill and Tobias scored on layups and Carter Behlmer hit a three. The Tigers trailed 42-35 following a basket inside by Joe Wood. But Behlmer drained another three to give Lake a 45-35 lead with 3:35 left to play in the third quarter, and No. 9 Huron would get no closer than six points for the rest of the game.

Lake coach Luke Hickey said his team’s followed the gameplan for the final two quarters.

“We felt in the first half that we didn’t have as many transition points. We wanted to sprint up and down the floor in the final 16 minutes and try to wear them down,” Hickey said. “We got some runouts and open 3s and were able to pull out the victory.”

The Flyers were able to get a number of layups, both in transition and in the half-court.

“Scoring off the dribble is a lot of our offense. We feel we have players on the perimeter that can get by (the opponent). Offensively, we play off them,” said Hickey. “Our guys are selfless and will pass up a good shot for a great shot. We had great spacing tonight.”

Lake took a 49-39 lead into the fourth quarter, and the lead grew to 19 points after Merrill hit a three to make it 67-48.

Huron coach Toby Miller noted how the Flyers turned the tables in the second half.

“I thought we played a good first half,” Miller said. “They beat us to loose balls and protected the offensive glass. They hit timely shots. Give them credit. They protected their homecourt.”

McNulty led all scorers with 35 points and was a force throughout the game, but the Flyers were able to hold his teammates in check as no other Tiger scored in double figures.

Lake was able to get out on the break a lot more in the second half, and it proved to be the difference.

“They’ve got good players. They beat us off the dribble,” said Miller. “We knew it was going to be dudes on dudes. We played well in the first half, but they took control in the second half.”

The Flyers had five players score at least eight points with Merrill leading the team with 20 points. Tobias had 16 points, 11 of them coming in the second half.

“They’ve been that way for us all year. You don’t always know where your scoring is going to come from,” said Hickey. “(The team) knows we want intensity and energy. It’s a credit to them.”

Jack Raglow scored nine points and Scroggins chipped in with eight. Despite the loss, Miller had high praise for his club.

“I just thanked them for everything,” said Miller. “They believed in the coaching staff, and the coaching staff believed in them.”

Two of the three seniors did not play due to injuries, Charlie Hardy and Ryan Sas, and Scroggins was the other senior.

In the second quarter, with Lake holding a 19-14 lead, the teams alternated baskets before Huron, trailing, 23-16, went on an 8-0 run that culminated with Raglow hitting a three to give the Tigers the lead at 24-23 with 4:24 to play. McNulty scored a basket during the run, and Landon Hohler made a three.

Lake responded with a Jack Sobczak basket to take back the lead by a point, and the teams traded baskets before Scroggins made a 3 later on in the quarter to tie it, 29-29. The Flyers got a layup from Caleb Tobias and a layup from Travis Merrill at the buzzer, giving Lake a 33-29 lead at the half.

In the first quarter, there were three ties and two lead changes, and Merrill had eight points in the first eight minutes.

Lake plays fourth-seeded Bucyrus Wynford on the road on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a sectional final. The Royals, who are in the Northern 10 Conference, have lost four straight games, but are 13-9.

“They like to play up-tempo,” said Hickey. “Our defense is going to be key. It’s two teams with similar styles of play. We have to be ready and hopefully can pull out a victory.”

No posts to display