EAST LANSING – Stevensville Lakeshore’s semifinal against Big Rapids was a study in contrasts Friday night at the Breslin Center.
Lakeshore was tough inside with Max Gaishin, a 6-foot-7 post player, along with 6-6 Colin Brushwyler and 6-11 center Braden Burke.
Conversely, the Cardinals relied on the three point shooting of Kenny Davis (15 points), Demetri Martin and Braeden Childress.
In the end Stevensville Lakeshore (20-7) eked out a 61-60 victory. The Lancers will face Detroit Henry Ford for the Class B title tonight.
“I thought it was a crazy game because in all the film we watched on them we never saw them make that many threes,” said Lakeshore coach Sean Schroeder. “They shot the heck out of it. They made a ton of shots. It’s a testimony to my team. We seem to find a way to win.”
Burke made two free throws with 51.1 seconds left to give the Lancers a 57-56 lead.
Big Rapids point guard Jeffrey Davenport then let a ball roll out of bounds with 37 seconds left. Gibson Archer turned the miscue into a basket with 32.4 left, putting Lakeshore up three.
Martin (22 points) made two free throws to trim the deficit to one. Gaishin made two free throws to make it 61-58, and a Davenport’s lay-up ended it with the Cardinals down one.
“Missed free throws and we turned the ball over twice,” said Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles. “We kind of lost our composure and they made plays. … This group of kids come to play. At one point it could’ve gone either way.”
Burke led a balanced Lakeshore scoring attack with 16 points. Archer and Gaishin (10 rebounds) each scored 15.
“I get inside and I get buckets,” said Burke.
Big Rapids made nine field goals in the first half in building a 30-29 halftime lead. Six of the field goals were triples, and the Cardinals hit 11 in the game. Meanwhile, the Lancers big three of Gaishin, Burke and Brushwyler combined for 19 points in the first half.
The trend continued in the second half as a Davis triple gave the Cardinals a 35-33 lead. Burke and Gaishin continued their inside assault before a triple from teammate Logan Steffes gave the Lancers a 41-39 lead.
Big Rapids countered with a three from Christian Hector and the see-saw battle went in favor of the Cardinals, 42-41.
Davis, listed at 6-1, then goaded Burke into his third foul, but the center stayed in the game.
Undeterred, the Lancers got the deficit down to 56-53 on a three by Archer.
Steffes turned a turnover into a fast-break basket with 1:35 left to make it 56-55.
“It’s a point in the game where you have to be looking for any opportunity,” said Steffes, who scored 11 points. “We knew we needed every bucket we could get. I was just scoping out everything trying to make a play.”
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.