2018-01-11 / Sports

Knickerbocker hits two buzzer-beaters to lift the Lightning over Flushing


Lapeer’s Drew Knickerbocker hits a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime against Flushing Tuesday. 
Photo by Joe Oster Lapeer’s Drew Knickerbocker hits a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime against Flushing Tuesday. Photo by Joe Oster LAPEER — Drew Knickerbocker hit a pair of buzzer-beating three-points, one to tie the game at the end of regulation and another to win the game in the second overtime, to lift Lapeer over Flushing 67-64 in an instant classic on Tuesday night.

“Everybody on the team knew I was going to take the last shot,” said Knickerbocker. “Coach drew up a beautiful play, and it went as planned. You can’t get caught up in all the noise and everything. We’ve already talked about this situation (as a team). Everybody on that court executed, not just me, and it worked out.”

Lapeer opened the game in a full-court press, but Flushing welcomed the pressure and took a 14-8 lead over the Lightning in the first quarter. Lapeer opened the second quarter with a 12-0 run that included a three-pointer from Knickerbocker and a lay-up and another three-pointer from Ian McAllister, who came off the bench for the Lightning. Flushing then scored six straight points to tie the game 20-20 with 1:54 left in the half.

After trading baskets, Alex Huestis buried a three with 50 seconds left. Flushing hit a free-throw with 0.8 seconds left, cutting Lapeer’s lead to 25-23 at halftime.

The Lightning took a 37-28 lead at the 3:18 mark of the third quarter, thanks to a pullup jumper from the top of the key by Nick Jensen that went off glass. Coming down the court on the ensuing possession,

Jensen joked with the student section, “I called bank.”

Flushing went on a run to end the third, chopping the lead to 42-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

A fast-paced fourth quarter found Lapeer trailing 51-48 with 15.2 seconds remaining. After moving the ball around to chew clock, Drew Johnston drove from the left wing and kicked the ball out to Huestis in the corner in front of Lapeer’s bench. Huestis then shot a pass to Knickerbocker who was sprinting to the left wing, replacing Johnston. Knickerbocker corralled the pass, rose above Flushing star Cal Endicott and nailed the game-tying three-pointer as time expired.

“We’re trying to get the kids to have confidence and finish games and finish quarters,” said Lapeer coach Aaron Fisher. “We drew it up, trying to get a three, and we knew they were going to defend the three. Four or five kids (on Lapeer) touched it (the ball) and it got back in Drew’s (Knickerbocker) hands for a wide-open look. It was a great pass and a great shot.

In the first overtime, Endicott hit two free-throws for Flushing to tie the game 58-58 with two seconds left. Knickerbocker then missed a half-court heave as time expired, sending the game into its second overtime period.

McAllister opened the second overtime with a lay-up in traffic to break the tie, and then Knickerbocker hit a freethrow to give the Lightning a 61-58 lead. Flushing’s Kade Andrews went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line to pull within two points with 1:19 remaining. McAllister then also went 1-for-2 from the line to extend Lapeer’s lead back to three.

Andrews tied up the ballgame with a three-pointer on a broken play with 26.8 seconds left. Flushing picked up fullcourt and inadvertently fouled Knickerbocker after receiving the inbounds pass, sending him to the free-throw line. Knickerbocker hit both to take a 64-62 lead with 26.8.

Endicott hit a bucket for Flushing to tie the game 64-64 with 13 seconds left and the clock. Knickerbocker took the ensuing inbounds pass, drove to the top of the key, crossed over his defender and buried the game-winning three-pointer as time expired to give Lapeer the 67-64 victory.

“We expect him (Knickerbocker) to make big shots,” said coach Fisher. “That’s what he’s got to do for us to win games. I’m proud of them all. They played great and never quit and kept competing.”

Knickerbocker finished the night with 19 points. McAllister added 14 points, Jensen scored 13 points and Carson Butterfield had 10 points. Endicott finished with a game-high 33 points for Flushing.

“Locking down Cal (Endicott) honestly was the biggest objective of the whole game,” said Knickerbocker. “We all knew he was a great player and he was tearing us up in the first half. (We) played up on him and had a lot of help-side. Everyone on the floor knew where he was.”

Lapeer, 3-2, travels to Bay City Central on Friday at 7 p.m. — J.O.


A second-half slump handed the Almont boys’ basketball team its first loss of the season on Tuesday, losing to Corunna 35-34.

Almont led 12-2 after the first quarter and outscored its opponent 13-6 in the second quarter for a comfortable 25-8 lead at halftime. The second half saw a different game as Corunna began to stage its comeback with a 15-2 run in the third quarter to trail 27-23 with one quarter to play. Almont was then outscored 12-7 in the final frame for the loss.

Austin Watt led the team with 11 points while Ethan Hall followed with nine. Chase Kapron had five points with three rebounds and Jordan Bourdeau had four points with five rebounds. Rafael Farias finished with three points and three assists and Clay Schapman chipped in two with a team-high eight rebounds and three assists.

Almont, 6-1, hosts Imlay City tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. — A.V.


The Falcons fell to Armada 54-13 on the road on Tuesday. Game stats and details were not reported prior to press deadlines. LakeVille, 0-8, is at Bendle on Friday. — K.R.



Meredith Rinke dropped 16 points as the Almont girls’ basketball team won its third game in a row following a 28-26 victory over Yale at home on Tuesday.

The Lady Raiders led 7-4 after the first quarter and outscored Yale 6-5 in the second for a 13-9 lead at the half. Yale narrowed the gap following an 11-9 run in the third to trail 22-20 headed into the final frame. Both teams added six to their respective totals in the fourth to give Almont the win.

Tyler Kautz scored seven with one three-pointer, Grace Zimmerman finished with four and Jennifer Curtis had one point to round out the scoring.

Almont, 4-5, hosts Imlay City tomorrow at 6 p.m. — A.V.

Imlay City

The Lady Spartans fell short of a fourth-quarter comeback during a 35-32 loss at Croswell-Lexington on Tuesday.

Imlay City opened the game on fire offensively, leading 12-6 after the first frame. Cros-Lex fought back in the second quarter, though, and outscored Imlay City 8-3 to bring the score to a 15-14 Lady Spartan lead at the half. Following the break, Cros-Lex took the lead after a 13-6 run in the third put it ahead 27-21. The Lady Spartans attempted to come back in the fourth, outscoring Cros-Lex 11-8, but it was not enough to come away with the victory.

Haley Medrano led Imlay City with 15 points and seven rebounds while Abby Schefka scored 11. Kayla Louwsma finished with two points and six rebounds, Erika VanDerPloeg had two points with three rebounds and Claire Thibodeau finished with two points.

Imlay City, 4-5, travels to Almont tomorrow at 6 p.m. — A.V.


The Lady Lightning were back in action on Tuesday after a long winter break but Goodrich handed Lapeer a 51-38 loss. Goodrich took an early lead and held it the entire game.

Goodrich led 14-4 after the opening quarter and extended its lead to 22-14 by halftime. Goodrich kept the game rolling in the second half, outscoring Lapeer 12-10 in the third and 17-14 in the fourth to take the win.

Hannah Erla led Lapeer with 13 points. Becca Morrish added nine and Olivia Norman had six. Elle Perry chipped in four. Charity Dunda, Breana Nolan and Caitlyn O’Neal had two apiece.

For Goodrich, Diamond Pate and Ryan Darby put up 15 points each and Maddie Voelker added 14. Pate and Voelker also pulled down eight rebounds apiece.

Lapeer, 1-4, hosts Bay City Central on Friday. — K.R.

North Branch

Tuesday’s home game against LakeVille got the Lady Broncos back on the winning track in a 38-24 triumph. Janel Ruhlman put up 11 points, seven rebounds and a steal and Kendall Wilson added nine points, five rebounds, two steals and an assist.

Carly Warda recorded nine points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal and Autumn Deshetsky came up with four points, six boards, two steals and an assist. With three points, five rebounds and a steal was Emily Ludescher and Dany Wells had two points, five boards and a block.

“We started the game out short two players due to illness but our other players did a great job at filling those vacancies,” said coach Timothy Gormley. “We worked well as a team tonight and played hard all four quarters. Six out of nine girls scored and every player had two or more rebounds.” — B.P.


Imlay City: The Spartans wrestling team was at a Blue Water Area Conference Quad with Armada and Richmond on Tuesday. Imlay City defeated Armada 51-28, but lost to Richmond 39-33.

Against Armada, Imlay City had five wrestlers win by forfeit as Armada wrestled shorthanded. Four other Spartans wrestlers also tallied wins against Armada. Dakota Sankzik, 103 lbs., Eric Pawlaczyk, 119 lbs., Austin Torres, 125 lbs., Ricky Guerrero, 171 lbs., and Joe Harper, 285 lbs., all won by forfeit.

At 112 lbs., Austin Torres beat Armada’s Juliana Laperriere by fall at 2:59. Wes Hampton, 135 lbs., defeated Justin Madill by fall at 0:28. Hunter Mullins beat Benjamin King by fall at 0:56 at 145 lbs. At 160 lbs., Zac Hellebuyck won a 4-1 decision against Marcello Annoni.

Imlay City then saw seven wrestlers come away with wins against Richmond despite the loss. Santella defeated JD Gross by fall at 1:39 at 112 lbs. At 119 lbs., Torres won a 6-3 decision over Scott Kettle. Pawlaczyk won by forfeit at 125 lbs. Mason Phillips, 130 lbs., defeated Dylan McCarroll by fall at 1:10. At 135 lbs., Hampton defeated Hunter Seguin by a 5-0 decision. Paris Houghten, 140 lbs., won by forfeit. At 145 lbs., Mullins won a 13-7 decision against Ethan Wyatt.

Imlay City hosts the Imlay City Team Wrestling Tournament on Saturday. — K.R.

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