McGruder, Lakes handle Grant in NLCC battle
Ethan McGruder was a difference-maker, scoring 16 of his game-high 25 points in the second half for Lakes as the Eagles flew past host Grant 51-44 in a Northern Lake County Conference boys basketball game on Saturday afternoon.
Hitting shots one after another seemed routine for McGruder, whether it was from 3-point range or closer to the basket.
"It just kind of flows and it takes me a little bit to get going," McGruder said. "After I get the first one, it just starts to be more fluent, and I just get my rhythm."
Lakes (5-5, 2-0) rallied from a 9-point deficit in the first half and controlled the play in the second half.
"The development has gotten better," McGruder said. "We started off the year slow. We do have a pretty young group of guys. The young guys are stepping up big. We had a big loss to Carmel, but we've been stepping up since then."
On Saturday, the Eagles were trailing Grant (1-7, 0-2) early on and were down 19-10 with 5:18 left in the second quarter. Lakes went on a 12-3 run and closed the half tied 22-22.
Then in the third quarter, McGruder stepped up, hitting shots that included a buzzer-beater from about 30 feet, which gave the Eagles a 37-32 lead going into the final quarter.
Lakes maintained its lead, although Grant closed to within 38-37 when Carter Kaye (team-high 13 points) hit a 3-pointer of his with 5:37 left.
Cade Primack (10 points) dropped in a jump shot followed by a McGruder trey that put the Eagles up 43-37 with 2:48 remaining and never looked back. McGruder had 6 3s for the game.
"To this group's credit, they have a way of sticking with it," Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. "Just got the focus where we needed to be and staying with it. The game has the ups and downs. We had to realize if we play a little harder some good things would happen. We started to see that momentum change in that second quarter. I thought we did a great job to carry it over to the third quarter and the rest of the second half."
Grant freshman Braylon Gray added 11 points and his brother Bobby chipped in with 8 off the bench.
"We will show some experience and being able to execute, but our execution was poor for the whole second half," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. "Just in game situations, we have to learn by experience. Right now, we don't look like a team that knows how to win a varsity basketball game. To know how important one-two possessions and these guys don't understand that yet. It's back to the drawing board at practice, back to the fundamentals and back to the basics. Just work on those simple possession things that takes to win. Nothing special that way. We just have to execute better."