Top-ranked Lakin boys back in substate finals
LARNED, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The third time is the charm. The top-ranked Lakin boys are hoping the old adage holds true. After a pair of near misses in substate finales the past two seasons, the Broncs will again play for a substate title Saturday in Larned after Friday’s 60-40 win over Holcomb.
Lakin got a quick six points from senior Hunter Davis for an 11-2 lead less than four minutes in. Holcomb senior Zephyn Mason banked a shot off the glass to end that run, then junior Braxton Sizemore swished a three. Mason and junior Daegan VanPelt scored in the final 70 seconds of the opening frame to level the score at 11.
Lakin’s tempo eventually wore down the Longhorns. Bronc junior Allen Martinez hit a shot for a 15-11 score midway through the second. Davis added five points and Lakin closed out the half with nine points in the final four minutes to lead 24-16.
“Our style of play tends to wear on people and sometimes we can be a little bit overwhelming,” said Lakin coach Nate Schmitt. “Usually when you play Holcomb that doesn’t happen. When we play our style we can go on a run, they can go on a run. I can’t say we were smart enough to make an adjustment. It was just the way it went.”
Davis simply took over in the third quarter with 15 points in the first four minutes of the second half. The senior made his first nine free throws in the game and finished the night 15 of 19 from the stripe. He scored 18 of his season-high 36 points in the third as the Broncs pulled ahead 45-24.
“We wanted to be aggressive to the basket,” Schmitt said. “We had them in a little bit of foul trouble, and we felt like if we were aggressive to the basket good things would happen, especially with the way they were defending us. I can’t say we anticipated 15 points in four minutes, but I think it was just the way he was attacking the rim. I think the reason he was drawing the fouls is because he was going up strong with two feet and drawing contact.”
After a 3-point loss to the Broncs in the regular season, Holcomb was unable to threaten late Friday. Lakin junior Servando Gonzalez scored five points in the first 50 seconds of the fourth quarter and the Broncs went on to lead by as many as 28 points at 56-28.
Mason was a bright spot for the Longhorns late with a pair of threes and strong drives. He scored 10 of his 18 points in the final frame and was also big defensively with four blocked shots in the first half. Freshman Damon Mesa added six points and five boards off the bench, and Sizemore and VanPelt each scored five points. Holcomb ends its season at 15-7.
Along with his big night at the free throw line, Davis made 10 of his 17 attempts from the floor, missing just twice in the second half. Gonzalez finished with nine points and five boards, and Martinez scored six points.
Lakin takes a 21-1 record into Saturday’s substate championship game in Larned. The Broncs lost a late regular-season matchup to Hugoton and will face either the Eagles or Hoisington.
“I think maybe we have more of a chip on our shoulder,” Schmitt said. “We’ve made it to the finals the last two years. We had a 4-point lead with a minute to go (in 2019) and lost. Last year we lost on a bank-in three. I think that’s just motivated these guys to be a little bit tougher this year.”
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