Boys Basketball: Lake City knocked out of section playoffsROCHESTER - The Lake City boys basketball team got off to the start it hoped against Byron Monday at the Mayo Civic Arena but it didn't last.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
ROCHESTER - The Lake City boys basketball team got off to the start it hoped against Byron Monday at the Mayo Civic Arena but it didn't last.
Juniors Ben Schramski and Jake Griebenow opened the game with 3-pointers for the fourth-seeded Tigers but the top-seeded Bears’ defense tightened up and Byron hit a series of clutch shots during the second half of a 53-35 victory in the Section 1AA semifinals.
“They hit what seemed like every shot in the second half,” Schramski said. “They’re the No. 1 seed for a reason. They made us work for every point we had all night.”
Schramski was the only Lake City player to finish in double figures, scoring 15 points to go along with three rebounds. Senior Luke Bremer contributed six points and four rebounds while junior Coleman Sweeney tallied five points, three rebounds and three assists in the loss.
Jack Nelson led the Bears with 15 points on 5 of 12 shooting. Travis Smith added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Byron shot 45 percent from the field and 4 of 7 on 3-pointers.
“Smith had a field day in the paint,” Lake City head coach Shawn Sweeney said. “They did a nice job coming off picks … they found the open guys.”
The Tigers found the open guys early, knocking the Bears out of a 3-2 zone defense right away with the two opening 3-pointers and held an 8-6 lead 10 minutes, 56 seconds into the game.
“Early, we scored a lot on kick-outs,” Schramski said. “We worked the ball around.”
But a more than five-minute scoring drought by Lake City allowed Byron to establish a 19-14 lead at the 3:14 mark. The Tigers trailed 20-17 at halftime.
Lake City shot 28.6 percent on 2-pointers in the first half and Shawn Sweeney said he was happy to go into the break down by just three points against the top defense in the Hiawatha Valley League during the regular season.
Schramski started the Tigers out with a 3-pointer to open the second half before the Bears went on a 12-1 run and led 32-21 with 10:40 remaining in regulation. Lake City cut the deficit to 32-26 a minute later but never got closer. The Tigers tried to pressure Byron on defense and despite forcing three turnovers in the second half, every time the Tigers pulled within 10 points the Bears knocked down a big shot in response.
“It was different guys scoring,” Shawn Sweeney said. “Last game, they had to come chase us. This time, we had to chase them.”
Lake City defeated Byron 51-42 in the final game of the regular season Feb. 23. The difference in that game centered on the Tigers shooting well and the Bears struggling, Shawn Sweeney said.
Byron had little trouble hitting shots in the second half this time around, making 12 of 22 after halftime. The Bears also held Lake City’s Zach Hinrichs, the Tigers’ leading scorer during the regular season, to one point and one rebound.
“They did a good job of doing what they needed to do,” Shawn Sweeney said. “They effectively took Hinrichs out of the game. They were more physical.”
Byron outrebounded Lake City 31-20 and held the Tigers to zero second-chance points.
The 18-point defeat was Lake City’s largest of the season.