There are few situations in the regular season that can replicate the challenge of closing a team out in a win-or-go-home scenario. The Gull Lake boys basketball team learned that first-hand during Monday’s Class A district quarterfinal matchup.
Leading by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, it only took a short lapse in offensive production for the Blue Devils to give Battle Creek Lakeview life. Led by a game-high 20 points from Zarrion Davis, the Spartans took advantage, finishing off a late rally with a 59-58 win in overtime.
Gull Lake held a 43-33 lead, and looked to be well on its way to advancing, when Lakeview ran off 11 in a row to take a 44-43 advantage.
“When the fourth quarter came around, I think we got content with the lead and maybe tried to hang onto the ball,” said Gull Lake head coach Bryan Dutton. “[Lakeview] picked up their energy and we should have responded to that. They had to make plays to beat us.
“They hit some tough shots down the stretch. I thought we continued to play really good defense, and they made tough shots.”
The Blue Devils did respond after the 11-0 run from Lakeview, and scored six straight points in the final minutes when Devon Prather hit a 3-pointer and Tyler Crippen connected on an old fashioned three-point play out of an inbounds play underneath the basket.
Holding a 53-50 lead, Gull Lake had the ball and Lakeview was attempting to foul, when an errant pass gave Lakeview one last chance. Brendan Shepherd let one fly from the left wing as the buzzer sounded, and after a few bounces, the basket fell and the game was sent to overtime.
“That situation doesn’t come up all the time. Maybe it’s on me for not calling a timeout and letting them know to hang onto the ball and let them foul us,” Dutton said. “Unfortunately, one got away from us and they executed and made a tough shot.”
For most of the game, Gull Lake was nearly flawless from the free throw line. The Blue Devils were 12-of-13 during regulation, but the charity stripe betrayed them in the fourth quarter, where Gull Lake went 5-of-8 – leaving costly points at the line.
“We played three quarters of basketball,” Dutton said. “We played well in overtime, but we missed some free throws.”
Five seniors played in their final game for Gull Lake. Two of those seniors carried the Blue Devils for most of the game, as Dominik Mastromatteo and Jacob Gleason combined for 29 points. In the first half, the duo accounted for 20 of Gull Lake’s 26 points.
“Jacob is a standout for the whole school,” Dutton said. “Tonight he gave us his full-out effort. He was all in.
“Dom played extremely hard for us. He’s a leader for us, even if he doesn’t know it. We feed off his energy.”
In all, the entire group of seniors accounted for 46 points for Gull Lake – just shy of 80 percent of the team’s offensive output for the night.
“It’s going to be tough to see those guys leave. I thought tonight they played extremely well,” Dutton said.
“Dom, Gleason, Crippen, Ryan [McMullen] and Robert [Flynn] – those are five guys to learn from.”
Gull Lake 14 12 15 12 5 – 58
BC Lakeview – 6 12 12 23 6 – 59
Dominik Mastromatteo – 16 points, 4 three-pointers
Jacob Gleason – 13 points
Devon Prather – 8 points
Tyler Crippen – 7 points
Ryan McMullen – 10 points
Jacob Louden – 2 points
Caleb Collard – 2 points
Check back soon for more photos from the game.