LaChance scores 30 to rally Lancers late
Spartans fade down the stretch and lose chance at upset
The Brookfield East boys basketball had crosstown rival Brookfield Central right where they wanted them, but then junior guard Riley LaChance put the Lancers on his back and took the game over.
LaChance scored 30 points, including 22 in the second half and 14 in the fourth period, eventually putting the game away with six straight free throws down the stretch to overcome a 47-46 deficit with 1:53 left to play.
"I'd rather play in a game like this than a blowout game," LaChance said afterward. "I was looking to make plays for my team or get to the line like I was."
LaChance did just that as he opened the fourth quarter with a jumper and two free throws to cut the lead to 41-39. Clutch jumpers by Mike Novak and Ryan McBride built East's lead back up to 46-39, but then the Lancers clamped down and only allowed the Spartans one point in the final 4:49.
Elijah Goodman hit a free throw, missed the second but LaChance put in the rebound and then Goodman hit two more free throws. With 2:20 left to play, LaChance knocked down two more free throws to tie the game at 46. After Corey Smith put in 1-of-2 free throws with 1:53 left to play, that was the last points the Spartans would manage.
LaChance hit two free throws to give the Lancers their first lead of the game 48-47 with 1:39 left. After an ill-advised shot by East, Central got the ball back, LaChance was fouled by Steve Tongas and hit two more free throws for a 50-47 lead.
After a time out, East surprised the defense when McBride drove the lane, but Terry Wallen took the charge, Central got the ball back and LaChance closed out the scoring with two free throws.
"He's a special player," Central coach Mark Adams said. "He put the team on his back in this one. You get him to the free throw line he is not going to miss too many of them.
LaChance finished with 13 for 15 from the free-throw line which was impressive since Central didn't go to the free throw line until 6:33 of the third quarter.
"I give these guys (East) credit for hanging in there," Adams said. "They did well against our 1-3-1. They were getting good looks and knocking them down. I would have liked to have us have a little more energy. But we weren't getting good looks or knocking down shots either."
So for only the second time this year, Adams adjusted and went to a man-to-man defense, bringing in junior guards Terry Wallen and Gunnar Malensek, who were better on the ball defenders.
"They did an outstanding job, they really stepped up," Adams said. (Peter) Mattiacci took two charges, Malensek took one, Wallen took one. We talked about those being game-changers and that's exactly what they were."
East coach Matt Malett was inconsolable after the game, one his team should have won.
"I was a little surprised since they have been committed to the 1-3-1 for a few years now," he said. "But we've been going against a man-to-man all year so I wasn't too concerned."
Novak finished with 15 points and McBride added 10. Goodman had 11 for the Lancers.
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