In front of a sold out crowd at Niles High School, there was an old school feeling when the Buchanan Bucks squared off against the Lakeshore Lancers. In a throwback to the old Lakeland Conference days, the Bucks and Lancers met in a physical game that had both teams fighting foul trouble before halftime arrived Saturday afternoon. Although the Lancers pushed out to an early lead, the Bucks never were out of it as they reached a 41-41 tie after three. In a 4th quarter that went back and forth with no team getting some distance, the free throw line became a crucial friend as the Lancers came back from a late deficit to win 57-54 over Buchanan.
Buchanan’s Reid McBeth knows his team’s bread-and-butter is down low, and there’s no secret on who the offense runs through. Big men Gavin Fazi and Logan Carson run the show, and it’s no surprise when Carson stands at 6-9. The Bucks also like to play fast, but it was Lakeshore who erupted in the 1st quarter on a 13-0 run to take a 15-4 lead after one. The Lancer defense kept Buchanan at some distance at the half as they led 30-20, though the Bucks did put 16 on the board in a slow turning of the game.
Coming out of halftime, Buchanan fed Lakeshore a heavy dose of Gavin Fazi, and he made the Lancers work as he scored 14 points in the 3rd quarter while John Gartland added another five points to pace the 21 point attack for the Bucks. Buchanan held Lakeshore to 11 3rd quarter points to make it 41 all.
Earlier in the season, Lakeshore struggled at times from the free throw line. In a tight game, the Lancers made the most of their opportunity by having a perfect 4th Quarter at the free throw line as they sank all 14 opportunities including late attempts by Grant Gondrezick II which gave Lakeshore the final difference in the game. Buchanan’s late 3-point attempt missed with the clock expiring.
Grant Gondrezick II scored a game high 29 points as no other Lancer made it to double digits. Gavin Foster added nine points, JJ Bushu scored seven points, and Joey Lake netted five points to pace the top four. Buchanan had three players in double figures as Fazi scored 17 points, Carson added 14 points, and John Gartland finished with 13 points.
Lakeshore now advances to Benton Harbor High School to face the #1 Tigers at 7PM on Tuesday night in the regional semi-final. The Tigers beat Holland Christian 55-50. In the first regional semi-final, Parchment faces Hopkins. Parchment advanced after edging Paw Paw 52-50, and Hopkins beat Wayland 51-49.
Follow @LHSLancerSports on Twitter for game information and listen live on the Lakeshore Lancers Network.