EAST LANSING – Stevensville Lakeshore coach Sean Schroeder had talked with his team this season about taking another step as a program.
He echoed that with a little more fire at halftime of Friday’s Class B Semifinal at the Breslin Center.
The Lancers led by three with just 16 minutes separating them from the first championship game berth in school history. But Muskegon Heights sophomore Mike Davis had scored 15 points and looked more than capable of carrying his team back to a second-straight Final.
“(No.) 24 had to stop scoring. He was keeping them in the game,” Lakeshore senior guard Loren Johnson said. “The effort was lacking. We really pride ourselves in defense, and we were really showing a lack of effort on the court.”
Now the Lancers have another big thing in which to take pride as well – and will be back at Breslin one more time this weekend.
Lakeshore got tighter on defense and bigger on offense and pulled away from Muskegon Heights for a 59-46 win. The No. 7 Lancers (24-2) will play No. 1 Lansing Sexton in the Final at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Lakeshore last played in a Semifinal in 2007, when it lost 49-42 to Country Day. Its other Semifinals were in 1995 and 1981.
“We really never could get over this hump. As a program and as a school, it’s something we really talked about, how nice it would be to at least get to the final game,” Schroeder said. “I don’t think our kids came here (in 2007) expecting to win, just ‘Oh my gosh, we made it here. It’s awesome.’ And that’s common for high school kids. But one of the things we talked about after Tuesday night was let’s get there and win.”
And that meant stopping Davis.
The 6-foot-4 sophomore forward entered the week averaging 10.5 points per game, but surpassed that 50 seconds into the second quarter. And Heights (20-7) needed that effort – it found out Wednesday that leading scorer Juwon Martin (15.8 ppg) would miss the Semifinal after suffering an injury Tuesday.
“It was a devastating blow, but we’re a no-excuse team. That’s been our motto all year,” Muskegon Heights coach Keith Guy said. “We just kept fighting at it.”
On the other bench, Schroeder more or less subbed in if a defender let Davis take a shot. He eventually settled on senior forward Jordan Avery as his stopper, and it paid off – Davis got far fewer looks, and scored only six points during the second half.
The Lancers, meanwhile, went ahead 37-35 with 5:08 to go in the third quarter and then launched a 16-3 run that Heights couldn’t match.
“We had to find different ways to try to get me open. In the first half I was just playing, trying to get our offense going. In the second half … they pretty much almost stopped me,” Davis said.
“(But) I learned that anything I put my mind to I can do it, especially on the basketball court where I think I’m one of the best people on the court at any time.”
Davis did finish with 21 points total. Senior Ryan Avery led Lakeshore with 20, while Johnson had 13 and senior center Alex Klunder had 10.
Click for box score or to watch the game and press conferences at MHSAA.tv.
PHOTO: Lakeshore junior Keith Brushwyler battles for the ball during Friday's Semifinal. (Photo courtesy of Terry McNamara Photography.)