KALAMAZOO – Andrew Prieskorn wasn’t around when the state championship dreams were being formed by the core of seniors on the Lansing Christian boys basketball team.
But since transferring to the program from Detroit Catholic Central, the junior has tried to do his part to help make those dreams a reality for the Pilgrims.
The junior played a big role Tuesday in No. 8-ranked Lansing Christian taking another big step forward and punching its ticket to the Breslin Center.
Prieskorn had a game-high 20 points off the bench as the Pilgrims posted a 65-47 victory over Benton Harbor Dream Academy in a Class D quarterfinal at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix High School.
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“Three months ago, this is what we set out to do,” first-year Lansing Christian coach Chris Mustaine said. “These guys have worked really hard to accomplish this goal. I would have hoped that this would be the case. These guys are a great group of seniors and a great team and a great family who has worked really hard to get to this point. It’s really fun to be a part of this process.”
The victory sends Lansing Christian (19-6) to Thursday’s 7:50 p.m. state semifinal against unbeaten and No. 4 Buckley at Breslin Center. And Prieskorn said it was a great feeling to help the team take another step toward its ultimate goal.
“This team is definitely full of a bunch of scorers and I kind of had to feel where my spot was on the team and I had to excel and kind of facilitate,” Prieskorn said. “That was my role, was to kind of facilitate. Today was a day I was able to come out and score.”
Preston Granger added 17 points and Matt Havey scored 12 for the Pilgrims, who ended the Cinderella run for Dream Academy. Granger surpassed 1,000 points with a basket in the game’s opening minute but was more thrilled with the result as the final whistle sounded.
“This was like the last step to a childhood dream the senior class had since elementary school to make it to the Breslin Center,” Granger said. “To come out and perform like we did and take care of business was definitely special.”
Lansing Christian took control of what was a tight game in the middle stages of the quarter. Prieskorn had seven points during an 11-0 run that helped the Pilgrims extend their lead to double figures. And that’s where it stayed.
“(Andrew) was able to come in and bring us that spark and that’s great when you have a bunch of guys who can do that for you on your bench that are super capable,” Mustaine said. “Those guys work hard in practice every day, knowing that at any point their number could be called and they could have to play.
“That’s why it’s this big we-over-me mentality of, ‘Hey, what are we going to do together? What are we going to be able to accomplish?’ At the end of the day when banners come up and championships get won, it’s not one person that’s on them. It’s a team. These guys have done a really good job of embracing that.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.