LAKEVIEW — Undefeated basketball teams typically see the best efforts from their opponents.
That’s something the Big Rapids Cardinals (10-0, 9-0) are well aware of and for three quarters on Monday night, the Lakeview Wildcats looked like they could become the Cardinals’ first blemish.
But a dominating fourth quarter by Big Rapids gave the Cardinals a 71-49 CSAA win on Monday night.
“We were actually OK for three quarters. We were up at the half and down by just four after three,” Lakeview coach Mike Schrieber said. “We had trouble getting into an offensive set in the fourth quarter. The pressure of the game situation increased and we didn’t handle it well.”
Big Rapids is rated 13th in Class B in the lastest AP prep boys basketball poll.
Lakeview (7-3, 6-3) jumped out to 8-2 and 17-8 leads in the first quarter. Nate Shurlow and Brad Hamlin helped the Wildcats’ fast start with a combined 15-of-19 first quarter points.
“Everyone is going to give us their best shot and they were prepared for us,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “We’ve seen a lot of different looks against the press and they were prepared for it and did a good job. We had some foul trouble early that didn’t help.”
The Wildcats led 19-14 after the first quarter and continued their solid play in the second quarter. Big Rapids got to within two points at 24-22, but the Wildcats held on to a 32-28 halftime lead.
“They are an athletic team and they have the size advantage,” Ingles said. “We missed some shots and got a little bit selfish offensively in the first half. It was good for us, since we have had some pretty good first quarters.”
Big Rapids began to find its offensive footing in the second half. Nick Baldwin and Quinn Tyson combined for 13 points in the third quarter as the Cardinals outscored the Wildcats 21-13.
The game went back and forth the final three minutes of the third quarter. Big Rapids took a brief lead at 44-43 on a pair of free throws, but then Shurlow quickly scored for a 45-44 Lakeview lead.
The Cardinals scored twice in the final minute, including a last second three-point shot by Baldwin for a 49-45 lead after three quarters.
“As the game progressed, we just made basic types of mistakes. It’s correctable, that’s the good part,” Schreiber said. “Offensively, we need to be a tighter knit group. We sprayed a lot of shots and that has to get corrected.”
Lakeview would not get any closer in the fourth quarter.
Tyson drained a three-pointer to begin the fourth quarter and start a 17-0 run for a 66-45 lead.
“We got into foul trouble again,” Schreiber said. “We spent a lot of energy and effort in the first half. We were spent late in the game. Being a young team, we had to experience that big game.”
Lakeview finally scored on a basket by Shurlow, but by then the game was out of reach. Big Rapids dominated the fourth quarter with a 22-4 advantage to remain undefeated.
Big Rapids won by 22 points, but the game was closer that the score indicates. Schreiber said the score was just fine for his young team to handle.
“In a way, that score is OK,” Schreiber said. “We didn’t do the things that would have kept it close. We will work on stuff.”
Tyson led three Cardinals in double figures with a game-high 21 points. Baldwin finished with 18 points and Jake Daughtery 17 points.
Shurlow led Lakeview with 16 points, while Jon Wandel added 12 points and Brad Hamlin 11 points.
Both teams completed their first run through the league on Monday. Schrieber said they will see Big Rapids late in the season and then Fulton just before the district tournament.
“I like our schedule with Big Rapids the last team in the league. They will be late again and then Fulton before districts,” Schreiber said. “It’s a good way for us to check our growth at the end of the year.”
Lakeview will host Morley Stanwood on Thursday.
BIG RAPIDS 71, LAKEVIEW 49
Big Rapids 14 14 21 22 — 71
Lakeview 19 13 13 4 — 49
BIG RAPIDS (10-0, 9-0) — Green 0 0-1 1, Heroor 0 0-1 0, Williams 2 4-7 9, Baldwin 6 5-10 18, Tyson 5 10-13 21, Pellerito 1 0-0 2, Daughtery 6 5-8 17, Armand 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 26-42 71. Three-point goals: Williams, Baldwin, Tyson. Total fouls: 20. Fouled out: Brady. Technical foul: Tyson.
LAKEVIEW (7-3, 6-3) — Wandel 4 3-4 12, Lindsey 1 2-2 5, Jensen 1 0-0 2, Hamlin 5 0-0 11, Shurlow 6 4-4 16, Stephens 1 1-4 3, Spanberger 0 0-4 0. Totals: 18 10-18 49: Total fouls: 26. Fouled out: Zuluaga-Torres, Shurlow.