Mitchell Leoanrd (42) paced Fennville with 26 points in a 67-65 loss to Lawrence in the SAC title game. 

Fennville falls short in SAC title game

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

The Fennville boys’ basketball team trailed for only 1.5 seconds in the SAC championship game against Lawrence on Friday, Feb. 27.
That second-and-a-half, however, couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for the Blackhawks.
Lawrence’s Robert Pelaez hit an off-balance shot in the closing seconds to provide the winning bucket in his team’s 67-65 win over Fennville.
Fennville nearly tied the game as Mitchell Leonard threw the inbounds pass the length of the court to Aaron Overhiser, who got off a shot just before time expired. But the bank shot was a little strong, hitting off the front of the rim to seal the Blackhawks fate.
Overhiser, who finished with 23 points and snagged eight rebounds, remained positive following the game.
“It’s just one of those,” he said. “Mitchell did a great job getting the ball to me. I didn’t think I had time to throw it down, and I just let it go too early.
“But this is just going to drive me and drive our team even more. It’s going to drive us right through districts. I really believe that. Everything happens for a reason and there’s a reason this happened. God doesn’t give people challenges they can’t handle so I know we can handle this.”
Leonard, who poured in a game-best 26 points, echoed those sentiments.
“We still have districts and we’re going to us this as motivation,” he said. “We may have missed this one, but we still have a couple more (goals to accomplish).”
The loss was the first for the Blackhawks since they fell to Tri-Unity Christian by one point in the season opener. Fennville had won 17 straight games since that time.
During that winning streak, the Blackhawks’ average margin of victory was more than 27 points.
That lack of experience in close games could have been a factor, Leonard believes.
“I think we started getting a little nervous,” said Leonard, whose team led by 10 points at halftime. “As (Lawrence) started getting close, you could kind of see it on our faces. We started playing not to lose instead of to win. We played a little passive and they hit some big shots.”
 

For full story, pick up a copy of the March 5 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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