Senior Loren Johnson scored 16 points and Harold Wiggins added 14 to lead Lakeshore over Otsego 65-55 Wednesday night and capture the Class B regional championship.
The final score, however, doesn't tell the whole story.
Before pulling away late in the fourth quarter, the Lancers and Bulldogs were locked in a battle in which no team could pull away by more than a handful.
Mid-way through the third quarter, it seemed as though Lakeshore was primed to make a run to put the game away. Up by four, they pushed the ball on a fast break to Kieth Brushwyler who missed a two-handed dunk and was issued a technical foul for hanging on the rim. The move charged the Otsego fan base and prompted a run that had the Bulldogs leading by two in the fourth quarter.
Jared Klein did all he could to keep Otsego on top, scoring a game-high 22 points, but the team play and scoring tandem of Johnson and Wiggins proved too much.
"You never forget these feelings," said Sean Schroeder, Lakeshore head coach. "This was a heck of a basketball game. Otsego gave us all we can handle. Their big kid and Klein just really was hard for us to guard and take care of. They did a great job. My hat's off to them. I'll tell you what though, I'm proud of our guys. We showed a lot of resiliency."
"It's the greatest feeling in the world," said Johnson. "My sophomore year we lost here and it's very, very emotional. It's still emotional but it's the better emotions."
With the regional championship, the Lancers advance to the state quarterfinals Tuesday against Grand Rapids Christian. The game is at 7pm at Thornapple Kellog High School in Middleville.