PRIEST RIVER — The Spartan boys varsity basketball team built a solid lead in the first quarter against visiting Lakeland, but watched the guests quickly turn things around in the second quarter and go on to win going away, 52-33.
The home team pulled ahead of Lakeland in the first quarter, building up a 10-4 lead after starting off tied 3-3. In the second quarter the Spartans continued to lead, 14-8, with about five minutes left in the half. However, three straight Lakeland three-pointers later, the home team was looking at its first deficit of the night, 14-17. In the last minute of the half, Keegan Hegel dished under the basket to Hunter Hartwig for an easy two, pulling the Spartans within one. But an immediate foul put Lakeland on the free throw line, and two successful attempts later, the teams went into the locker rooms with the score 16-19.
During the halftime break, the Spartans’ kids cheerleader camp came out and put on a great performance under the leadership of Spartan cheerleaders.
In the second half of the game, Lakeland continued to outrebound Priest River, which often had nobody under the boards to grab rebounds after offensive shot attempts. Hegel valiantly pushed the ball into the paint, driving in on the bigger Lakeland players despite a size disparity. Robbie Anselmo also attacked the Lakeland defense while subbing for older brother Tommy Anselmo.
Hartwig started off the second half well for the Spartans by nailing a shot to make the score 18-19, but two Hawks baskets later Hartwig’s drive into the lane was called a charge, and the wheels really started to come off the Spartan wagon. Jakobie Haggerty’s missed three-point attempt resulted in a Lakeland fast break to make it 18-25. Lakeland patiently executed a great setup that involved half a dozen passes before finding a man wide open under the basket to make it 18-27. In contrast, despite Hartwig’s drive into the lane to make it 20-27, Priest River rarely worked the ball as patiently as the guests, and rarely found the bottom of the net.
By the end of the third quarter the home team was down 24-29.Following a Hawks three-pointer to make it 24-32, Hartwig sank three free throw attempts, and added two more a little later to make it 29-35. But the last six minutes of the game belonged completely to Lakeland, who racked up 17 points in that stretch of the game to close out with a resounding 19-point victory.
The boys varsity team next plays at Timberlake at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 in the Battle of the Buck.