Lakeland closes regular season with home loss to Rockford
Athletics - posted on 2/17/2009
SHEBOYGAN - The Lakeland men's basketball team closed its regular season Tuesday night with a 97-80 loss to Rockford in a Northern Athletics Conference contest at Moose & Dona Woltzen Gymnasium.
The loss was the ninth straight for the Muskies (10-14, 4-12 NAC).
Trailing 44-29 at the half, Lakeland picked it up offensively and swung the momentum in its favor early in the second half. The Muskies mustered an 18-5 run to close the gap to two points, sparked by a deep 3-pointer by junior guard Khendal Andrews with a hand in his face, and some solid work in the post by freshman forward Jake Schwarz.
However, Rockford (15-9, 10-6), which shot 62.3 percent for the contest, quickly regained control and got its lead back to double digits.
"We were able to knock down some shots in the second half, which we haven't been doing lately," Lakeland coach Aaron Aanonsen said. "But when we do make shots, we couldn't put that together with guarding people and getting stops on the defensive end."
The Muskies shot 57.6 percent in the second half, but surrendered 53 points and 60 percent shooting in the frame.
In the first half, Lakeland mixed up its defensive looks, but the Regents were able to find the gaps facing both a match-up zone and a 1-3-1 zone.
"Our guys let [Rockford] get comfortable," Aanonsen said. "We can't allow them to shoot 62 percent in our gym. We especially let their role players get comfortable in both halves."
Regent forward Randon Williams, who entered the game averaging 6.2 points per game, posted 23 points on a perfect 10-for-10 from the field, and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Rockford outscored the Muskies 40-24 in the paint, including a 22-4 advantage in the first half.
Schwarz (Sheboygan) led the Muskies with 23 points and seven rebounds. Andrews (Kankakee, Ill.) and freshman point guard Josh Regal (Suring) registered 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Prior to the game, Lakeland senior forward Pete Worth (Sheboygan) was honored at center court with a framed picture
collage. Worth has been out since late December after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in practice only nine games into the season.
The Muskies sorely missed Worth, who was one of the team's best defenders and rebounders, as well as the squad's lone senior.
"Words can't describe how much we've missed Pete out there," Aanonsen said. "He was our most reliable player and an emotional leader for us. He has been so important to the team in his four years here. Pete's presence on the court definitely would have influenced some outcomes this season."
Lakeland wraps up its 2008-09 season with the NAC Challenge Game this Saturday. The Muskies, who finished fifth in the league's North Division, will head to Concordia Chicago, which finished fifth in the NAC South Division. Game time is tentatively scheduled for approximately 4:15 p.m. in River Forest, Ill. (UPDATE: Game postponed to Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. in River Forest, Ill.)
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