Laingsburg started fast and never stopped in Monday’s Class C regional semifinal, outlasting Calvin Christian 61-52 at Pewamo-Westphalia High School.
The Wolfpack began the game on a 9-0 run and never allowed the Squires to get closer than five points after that.
Being ready to play was never a question for Laingsburg in a do-or-die game.
“We have a group of eight seniors who want to play as long as they can possibly play,” said Laingsburg coach Greg Mitchell. “That’s who they are. They love to play this game.”
Senior Jacob Zielinski provided the majority of the offense for the Wolfpack . He finished with a game-high 31 points.
“I think it was the best game of his life, and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Mitchell said. “Man, did he play like a champion tonight.”
Zielinski’s quickness allowed him to easily get to the basket throughout the game.
“As soon as I see a head turned from someone, I’m going,” Zielinski said.
The hot start for Laingsburg allowed it to jump out to a 27-14 halftime lead. Zielinski matched Calvin Christian’s total in the first two quarters himself.
Doing the rest for the Wolpack was its defense. The team’s pressure had the Squires out of their rhythm. They struggled to score and were riddled with turnovers.
“We play extremely hard defensively,” Mitchell said. “If we get turnovers, that’s a bonus. We just want to get them out of their comfort zone.”
The Wolfpack kept a comfortable lead over the Squires until the fourth quarter, when Calvin Christian went on an 8-0 to cut the deficit to five points. But Laingsburg hit its free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.
Laingsburg will be back in action on Wednesday when it plays for the regional title against Muskegon Heights.
Zielinski anticipates a different kind of game than Monday’s.
“They are very athletic, fast and they pressure the ball really well,” he said.
“We’ll have to come ready and disciplined.”