Clash of the titans:
It was an epic battle for the ages without parallel when Wayland hosted Otsego in boys’ basketball on Tuesday, Jan. 13.
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit on the overly dramatic side. But the game between the Wildcats and the Bulldogs did promise to be a good one, as Wayland ended the contest ranked fourth in Class B and Otsego was close behind at seventh.
And it was just that in the opening minute of the fourth quarter as Otsego’s Solomon Barwegen knocked down a 3-pointer to cut what had been a 12-point Wayland lead to four at 49-45.
The rest of the contest was decidedly less entertaining, at least from a Bulldog fan’s perspective.
The Wildcats closed out the game on a 20-4 run to pull away en route to securing the 69-51 win.
Senior Lacey James led the charge for the Wildcats, posting game highs of 21 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and three blocks. And he did all that while battling with Seth Dugan, Otsego’s 7-foot senior.
“It was a good battle,” James said. “All I tried to do was find my holes and take advantage of them when I got one. We worked as a team against (Otsego’s) zone and worked for the open shots. When I got an opening I took it.”
In addition to his work on the offensive end, James also helped limit Dugan to seven points, with only two of those coming in the final three-and-a-half quarters.
The fact that Dugan was in foul trouble early in the second quarter didn’t help matters for the Bulldogs.
“I was patient against him,” James said of guarding Dugan. “He’s a good player so I didn’t want to force things. I stayed on my feet and didn’t jump. I just moved and then he got in some foul trouble.”
As well as the game ended for Wayland (6-0), it started equally well for Otsego (5-2).
The Bulldogs opened the game on a 12-0 run, getting five points from Dugan, four from A.J. Atwater and three from Barwegen.
But the Wildcats didn’t panic, stopping the run with a bucket from Zack Nieuwkoop and ending the first period down 14-10.
Wayland then scored nine of the first 11 points of the second stanza—seven of those points coming from James—to go up 21-16.
Otsego never retook the lead.
For full story, pick up a copy of the January 15 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.