Lakers Snuff Out Storm with Second Half Comeback

Matt Grendel (photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)
Matt Grendel (photo by Ryan Baker/Baker Media Productions)
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Lake Erie College (5-17, 1-14 GLIAC) pushed GLIAC North power No. 22 Grand Valley State University (17-6, 12-4 GLIAC), holding a double-digit second half lead, but ultimately fell short, 76-69, at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic and Wellness Center.

The game was part of Taking Breast Cancer by Storm Day as part of the GLIAC's Pink Wave initiative. 

The Storm was led by senior guard Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep) with a game-high 23 points and a team-high six rebounds.  Junior forward Matt Grendel (Independence, Ohio/Independence) chipped in with 13 points and freshman guard Riley Thomas (Cardington, Ohio/Cardington-Lincoln) added 11.  Grand Valley State was led by Justin Ringler with 20 points, 15 of which came in the second 20 minutes.

Lake Erie got off to a hot start, grabbing a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes with a Grendel three-pointer and Bradshaw layup.  The Storm led 11-9 after a high-scoring first five and a half minutes when the pace slowed and defense took over.  Neither team scored over a 4:37 stretch of game time with the Green and White's drought lasting 6:10.  The score would stay tight the rest of the half with 14 lead changes and four ties.  Grand Valley State took its largest lead at 23-20 with 5:40 in the half but the Storm whittled away and took a 31-30 advantage to the break after a Bradshaw three-pointer closed the half.

That momentum carried into the second half as the Storm opened on an 11-3 run, including six straight points from Bradshaw, to grab a 42-33 edge.  The Green and White lead extended to a game-high 10 points, 49-39, with 12:29 to play when Grendel converted a traditional three-point play.  That assist came from Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton), one of a game- and career-high six for the sophomore center.

A turning point occurred at 10:36 when Grendel was forced to sit with his fourth foul.  Grand Valley State took advantage with a 16-5 spurt to regain the lead for the first time in the second half at 55-54 with 5:32 to play.  Lake Erie momentarily regained the advantage with a three-pointer from Bradshaw, but back-to-back jumpers from Ringler put GVSU ahead 59-57. A pair of Bradshaw free throws tied the score with 3:43 to play. 

Down the stretch it was all Lakers as they scored on four straight possessions while the Storm came up empty on three straight trips.  A pair of Wes Trammell free throws gave GVSU a 67-59 edge with 1:24 to play.  A Thomas three-point play cut the deficit to five at 70-65 with 26 seconds to play but Lake Erie could get no closer as the Lakers sealed the game going nine-of-10 from the line in the final minute.

The Storm edged the top rebounding team in the GLIAC, 39-33, on the glass and had 17-5 advantage in assists.

Lake Erie is in action next on Thursday (Feb. 17) as it travels to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to take on Northern Michigan University at 6:00 p.m.