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SHEBOYGAN - The Lakeland men's basketball team staved off a furious second-half rally by Silver Lake en route to a 65-58 non-conference victory Friday night at Moose & Dona Woltzen Gymnasium.
After the Muskies took a 15-point lead, their largest of the game, following a 3-pointer by freshman guard Brandon Young, the Lakers (2-15) surged to a 12-0 run to pull within three at 52-49 with 5:48 remaining in the second half.
Silver Lake got as close as one point, but a 3-pointer by junior guard Khendal Andrews sparked an 8-0 run, which gave Lakeland a 64-55 lead with just 18 seconds to play.
While happy with the win, Lakeland players and coaches seemed to be disappointed after coming out slow in the first half and being flat at times in the second half.
"We just didn't play with much intensity or effort," Lakeland head coach Aaron Aanonsen said. "I give a lot of credit to Silver Lake for playing hard and winning the battle on the boards."
Young (Milwaukee) was a spark off the bench for the Muskies (7-4, 2-2 Northern Athletics Conference). In one sequence about midway through the second half, Young stole the ball at midcourt, dribbled down and found freshman forward Germell Heard trailing on the fast break for a one-handed dunk. The play ignited the bench and the crowd, and seemed to give Lakeland players some life.
"'BY' is an energy player," said Andrews, who finished with 14 points in the game. "Brandon and I go at it every day in practice, so it was nice to see him knock down a big 3-pointer and make the other plays he made."
Freshman forward Jake Schwarz (Sheboygan) led the Muskies with 15 points and nine rebounds, while shooting 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Freshman point guard Josh Regal (Suring) added 14 points in 35 minutes for Lakeland.
The Muskies shot an even 40 percent from the field and struggled at times against Silver Lake's 2-3 zone defense, but made 5-of-11 from downtown in the second half and forced 19 Laker turnovers.
"We need to go hard for 40 minutes," Andrews said. "We were too complacent at times. We need consistency and 100 percent effort defensively, and the offense will come."
The Muskies were without senior forward Pete Worth (Sheboygan) for the second straight game. He is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Worth is a valuable, emotional leader who players and coached admit the team misses dearly on the floor.
"Our guys need to dig deep and find that effort and intensity," Aanonsen said. "We need to find 10 guys out there to step up in Pete's absence."
The Muskies play their final non-conference contest of the year Monday against Northland Baptist. Tip-off at Lakeland is set for 6:15 p.m.