Holcombe's Free Throws Lift Huskies
Lakeview rallies in fourth quarter to oust Lake Shore in boys basketball matchup.
At 5-foot, 5-inches tall, Lakeview senior Bryce Holcombe is rarely the biggest player on the court.
"He might be the smallest guy out there," Huskies coach Dean Haratsaris said. "But he's got the biggest heart without a doubt. He's a warrior out there."
So, when Holcombe stepped to the free-throw line with the score tied a at 43-43 and 25.1 seconds left in the game against crosstown rival Lake Shore, he was exactly the man Lakeview coaches wanted to shoot these critical free throws.
"He was definitely the guy we wanted taking those shots," Haratsaris said. "One hundred percent he was the guy."
Holcombe calmly knocked down both shots and put his squad into the lead for good, 45-43.
Lakeview held on for a three-point victory.
"After the first half we started getting into the game plan we wanted to execute," Haratsaris said. "We really stepped up our defense and got them into situations where they had to take some bad shots. We created a few turnovers and got back into the game."
The fourth quarter in particular showcased Lakeview's defensive ability. The Huskies outscored Lake Shore 22-12, and routinely forced the Shorians out of the inside-out game they had found success with until that point.
"Our big guys got into foul trouble, but I'm not going to complain about that," Lake Shore coach Todd Stevens said. "We made a few bad decisions and let it get away from us. It's disappointing because we had the game in hand. But we're going to learn from this and be a better team because of it."
The intensity of the game was anything but what fans would have expected for a December contest.
This rivalry game, played in front of an enthusiastic crowd, had a playoff feel to it, and the intensity is something both coaches welcomed.
"I think it's extremely good for us," Stevens said. "We need to get used to that feel, and be able to perform despite of the high emotions. This rivalry game is a high-emotion game. I think we're going to be able to look back on this down the road and say we played in a game with a lot of emotion and intensity."
"It's the best thing for us right now," Haratsaris said. "I think in the past we have lacked some intensity, and we just kind of went through the motions at times. This group, they have a lot of seniors and they know they're not going to get another shot at this. The intensity is good for us. It's fantastic to see this heading into the break. Now we have to keep it up."
The intensity of the contest undoubtedly played a part in the huge number of fouls called in the game, 43 in total.
"We knew that they weren't very deep so we wanted to try to get them into foul trouble," Haratsaris said. "Fortunately, the refs were calling those fouls and we were able to get those guys into some foul trouble."
The game had all the excitement befitting of such a rivalry.
"It was a typical Lakeview-Lake Shore game," Haratsaris said. "Todd (Stevens) does a great job with his team and they battled hard. We came out and did the same thing. It's not always the prettiest game, but it's usually very competitive."
Lakeview's Joe Moffitt led all scorers with 16 points while Lake Shore's DeWayne Cook had 14 points for the Shorians.
The win pushes the Huskies' record to 2-2 overall (1-0 in the Macomb Area Conference Silver). The defeat drops the Shorians to 1-3 on the year (0-1 in the MAC Silver).