The Three Lakes Bluejays put a little sting into the Elcho Hornets’ season with an exciting 64-62 overtime win Tuesday night in Three Lakes.
Three Lakes head coach Brian Diorio said afterwards it was a team effort throughout the night which helped his team overcome a lackluster evening at the free-throw line and at times cold shooting from the field.
“We had really balanced scoring in this one, which is good to see,” said Diorio. “We played very unselfish and were able to spread the ball around. Hopefully this can get us rolling down the stretch with some winnable games coming up.”
Neither team grabbed control early as the back-and-forth battle from opening tip led to a 15-15 tie midway through the first.
Three Lakes then seemed to get some momentum behind the shooting of seniors Kaden Scimeca and Ethan Spears along with sophomore Sam Eppler, who each helped build a 32-23 lead at the half.
Elcho pressed early in the second, unleashing a barrage of jumpers as a 7-0 run helped get the score tightened before the Bluejays could muster anything.
From there the teams got into a shooting battle as Elcho hit five triples behind freshman guard John Slowik, while Three Lakes rained in seven from long range in the second half.
Elcho took its first lead of the half at 55-56 with 2:23 left in the game before Bluejays sophomore Logan Erikson hit a three-pointer to put the home team up 58-56 with 1:37 left in regulation.
Pressure defense by both teams led to multiple turnovers and no scoring until Elcho stole an inbounds pass from Three Lakes and hit the layup, tying it up at 58-58 with 17 seconds to go in the game.
The Bluejays then committed a loose ball foul with under 10 seconds to play, putting the Hornets on the free-throw line.
However, they missed the front half of the one-and-one, giving Junior Griffin Schroeder one more long-range shot to win the game which came up short, leaving the game tied at 58 as teams headed for overtime.
In OT, Eppler hit the first basket with 2:22 left on a little jumper in the lane, followed by a nice layup 30 seconds later.
Spears then fouled out with 1:16 left, and the Hornets clawed back to tie it up again at 62-62 before Erikson gave the Bluejays the lead for good with two free throws down the stretch as the Bluejays defense cracked down, not allowing Elcho another shot and giving Three Lakes the 64-62 win.
Eppler led the way on the night with 15, followed by Spears with 13, Scimeca with nine, Erikson and Schroeder with eight apiece and sophomore Cole Melton with seven.
Elcho was led by junior forward Kolton Schmidt with a game-high 17, sophomore center Chase Novak with 16, and freshman guard John Slowik with 11.
Three Lakes is busy this week starting Tuesday at Goodman-Pembine. The team will then host White Lake on Thursday and play nonconference opponent Wakefield on Friday.