A win is a win is a win.
That adage can best describe the feelings of Lakeland boys basketball coach Ryan Yoder after he watched his club pull out a 68-64 overtime victory against arch-rival Prairie Heights Saturday night in Brushy Prairie.
“It’s always nice to get a win here at Prairie Heights,” said Yoder of the Lakers’ seventh triumph of the season. “We missed a few shots, they (Prairie Heights) missed a few shots, but in the end we found a way. That’s all that matters.”
Lakeland was in control for much of the game and had several chances to put the Panthers away in the second half. But each time the Lakers appeared to be on the brink of a blowout win, the Heights squad would scrap back.
Jalen King’s three-pointer gave the visitors a 58-51 lead with just over two minutes left. The Panthers then tallied seven straight points to knot the score at 58-all with 52 seconds remaining.
Each team had opportunities to win the game in regulation time, but failed to cash them in. Kyler West was fouled on a layup try with 23 ticks left, but the sophomore could not make either charity toss.
Lakeland then held the ball for a final shot, but could not squeeze the trigger.
In the extra session, baskets by Spencer Mortola and Chandler Mynhier staked the Lakers to a 62-58 lead. The margin went up to five (66-61) before Woody Riha connected on a three-pointer with 1:16 left to bring the Panthers to within two.
Two missed shots by the Lakers gave the ball back to Prairie Heights. Jacob Heller, who led the Panthers with 24 points, was fouled with 32 seconds to play, but he missed both free throws. Tim Abbott then sank two foul shots in the final 20 seconds to ice the Laker win.
“I am so proud of the way our kids fought back,” said Panther coach Brett Eltzroth. We’ve been through the ringer this year, but the kids have never given up. Eventually, we are going to get over the hump.”
Cody Richardson, who swished four, three-point shots, led a quartet of Lakers in double figures with 18 points. Jalen King had 17 points, Mortola 14 and Mynhier 11.
Riha followed Heller on the Heights point chart with 13.
Prairie Heights 64 (OT)
Scoring by quarters
LL 17 18 15 8 10 -68
PH 12 15 14 17 6 -64
Tim Abbott 2, 2-4, 6; Jalen King 7, 1-2, 17; Eric Herber 0, 2-2, 2; Marco Olivares 0, 0-0, 0; Cody Richardson 7, 0-0, 18; Spencer Mortola 7, 0-1, 14; Chandler Mynhier 4, 3-3, 11; Totals 27, 8-12, 68
Three-point field goals 6 (Richardson 4, King 2)
Ryan Day 3, 0-0, 6; Kyler West 3, 0-2, 7; Jackie Owens 1, 0-0, 2; Landon Wohlers 1, 0-0, 2; Jacob Heller 10, 4-10, 24; Tyler Carbone 2, 0-0, 4; Woody Riha 6, 0-0, 13; Dylan Stayner 3, 0-0, 6; Totals 29, 4-12, 64
Three-point field goals 2 (West 1, Riha 1)