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Prep Roundup: Fast start helps Benzie hold on against Glen Lake, 41-39, to win Northwest Conference championship; Cadillac, Bellaire, Lake City all clinch conference titles

Feb. 16—BENZONIA — Benzie Central came into Friday having not lost a game in 2024. Benzie's opponent, Glen Lake, had just one defeat since the turn of the year — courtesy of the Huskies.

Benzie's record in the new year is still pristine, but it certainly was not easy against the hard-charging Lakers in a 41-39 final at Benzie Central High School on Friday.

The Huskies (18-2, 14-0 Northwest) have now won 14 straight dating back to Dec. 27, the program's longest streak in nearly four decades. The win also gave Benzie its first undefeated conference title in that same stretch.

"The guys were excited as can be, just ecstatic," Benzie Central head coach Josh Crocker said. "I was really happy with the perseverance and resiliency they showed. It was a game that we gave a big lead away and found ourselves trailing before finding a way to pull it off in the final minute."

The Huskies looked as if they would run away with an easy win after going up 18-0 and leading 20-3 after the first quarter. But the Laker defense clamped down and Crocker said his team started settling for shots, allowing Glen Lake (15-4, 10-2 Northwest) to make it a game at halftime down just six at 25-19.

"It took us out of what we trying to do, which was not settle for a three-point shooting contest," Crocker said. "But we were able to focus down the stretch. ... That just shows our guys that we're never fully out of it."

Both teams scored 10 points in the third quarter to keep the margin at six points at 35-29, but the Lakers scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter for a 38-35 lead with a minute to play.

Rowan Zickert then hit his fourth 3-pointer of the night for Benzie to tie the game at 38-38 before Jacob Plamondon split one of two from the free-throw line to put the Lakers back up by a point.

Zickert then tried for his fifth three, but it rattled out and into the hands of fellow Huskie Jaxon Childers who made the easy putback from a foot out for the 40-39 lead. After a Glen Lake miss, Childers was fouled with 0.2 seconds left and made one of two free throws to ice the win.

Zickert finished with a team-high 12 points on those four triples followed by Childers with 11, Grayson Converse with eight, and Andrew Gray with seven for the Northwest champion Huskies.

Benzie has just two games remaining, a home tilt against Traverse City West on Tuesday and a road contest against Ludington on Friday.

"We're enjoying the ride," Crocker said.

Plamondon led with a pair of baker's dozens — 13 points and 13 rebounds — for the Lakers. Benji Allen had seven points and 10 boards. Cooper Bufalini scored nine points, and Michael Houtteman tallied six points with two rebounds. Glen Lake head coach Jason Bradford said Tyler Bixby was also a big contributor in the minutes he played.

"To fight back from that deficit and make it a ballgame with a chance to win at the end, that's something to be proud of," Bradford said. "Now, we've got bigger things ahead of us to focus on. Hats off to Benzie. We'll be ready to take them on next year."

The Lakers finish out their conference slate against Suttons Bay on Tuesday and Onekama on Friday with a Thursday matchup against Kalkaska in between.

GIRLS HOOPS

Elk Rapids 63

Boyne City 23

Elk Rapids: Kendall Standfest 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 6 blocks; Brooke Fluty 10 points, 4 steals; Hunter Shellenbarger 9 points, 4 rebounds; Rhielynn Skrocki 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists; Ally Plum 6 points, 6 rebounds.

UP NEXT: The Elks (17-2, 11-1 Lake Michigan) welcome Kalkaska on Tuesday. The Ramblers (8-10, 5-6 Lake Michigan) host Grayling on Tuesday.

Lake City 37

Manton 29

Lake City: Victory clinches at least a share of the Highland Conference championship for the Trojans. MacKenzie Bisballe 24 points, 12 rebounds; Payton Hogan 6 points, 6 rebounds; Alie Bisballe 5 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks.

Manton: Lauren Wilder 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals; Aubrey Hiller 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals; Angela Porter 4 points, 6 rebounds.

UP NEXT: The Trojans (17-2, 14-1 Highland) travel to Hart on Wednesday. The Rangers (16-4, 13-2 Highland) play at Houghton Lake on Thursday.

Lake Leelanau SM 43

Ottawa Lake 34

Lake Leelanau St. Mary: Delana Kirt 16 points, 8 rebounds; Kyla Barnowski 7 points, 10 rebounds; Muriel Korson 7 points.

UP NEXT: The Eagles (14-1) head to Temperance Bedford on Saturday.

Kingsley 52

Benzie Central 21

Kingsley: Chrissy Whims 18 points; Bailey Charter 9 points; Emilee Robinson 8 points; Delaney Case 6 points.

Benzie Central: Flora Zickert 9 points.

UP NEXT: The Stags (16-4, 11-2 Northwest) plat at Leland on Friday. The Huskies (9-8, 7-6 Northwest) host Ludington on Monday.

Frankfort 53

Leland 17

Frankfort: Kylee Harris 14 points; Savina Anhalt 13 points; Evelyn VanTol 12 points.

Leland: Mallory Lowe 7 points.

UP NEXT: The Panthers (13-5, 7-5 Northwest) host Swartz Creek on Saturday. The Comets (9-9, 4-8 Northwest) head to Grand Traverse Academy on Wednesday.

Buckley 52

Onekama 47

Buckley: Kayla Milarch 17 points; Mikayla Kulawiak 14 points; Lucy Moyer 9 points, 11 rebounds, 4 steals.

UP NEXT: The Bears (7-12, 3-10 Northwest) host Frankfort on Friday. The Portagers (10-7, 7-6 Northwest) welcome Mesick on Monday.

Manistee CC 41

Pentwater 19

Manistee Catholic Central: Ava Skocelas 7 points, 5 rebounds; Maddie Gunia 7 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks; Rianna Leiffers 7 points, 2 steals; Jocelyn Howes 7 points, 3 steals; Regan Leiffers 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals; Elizabeth Logan 2 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks; Brenna Johnson 4 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 7 steals.

UP NEXT: The Sabers (11-7, 9-2 West Michigan D) host Cadillac Heritage on Tuesday.

East Jordan 60

Charlevoix 31

UP NEXT: The Red Devils (10-8, 5-7 Lake Michigan) welcome Traverse City St. Francis on Tuesday. The Rayders (10-8, 7-5 Lake Michigan) travel to Harbor Springs on Tuesday.

Grayling 52

Kalkaska 30

Grayling: Makayla Watkins 17 points; Cali D'Amour 12 points; Ali Helinski 8 points; Emma Kuziel 5 points; Amanda Lewis 4 points; Jill Hartman 4 points.

UP NEXT: The Vikings (10-9, 6-6 Lake Michigan) head to Boyne City on Tuesday. The Blazers (0-15, 0-12 Lake Michigan) travel to Elk Rapids on Tuesday.

Bellaire 32

Forest Area 20

UP NEXT: The Eagles (10-8, 7-6 Ski Valley) travel to Johannesburg-Lewiston on Wednesday. Forest Area (0-16, 0-12 Ski Valley) hosts Pellston on Wednesday.

Joburg 50

Central Lake 16

UP NEXT: The Cardinals (13-5, 9-3 Ski Valley) host Bellaire on Wednesday. The Trojans (3-14, 3-10 Ski Valley) welcome Ellsworth on Monday.

Inland Lakes 32

Onaway 26

UP NEXT: The Bulldogs (11-5, 11-2 Ski Valley) host Pickford on Tuesday.

Mesick 50

Baldwin 38

UP NEXT: The Bulldogs (5-12, 5-9 West Michigan D) play at Onekama on Monday.

BOYS HOOPS

Harbor Springs 50

TC St. Francis 38

Harbor Springs: Braeden Flynn 21 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds; Rider Bartel 13 points; Collin Lang 8 points, 8 rebounds.

Traverse City St. Francis: No stats reported.

UP NEXT: The Rams (14-6, 10-4 Lake Michigan) head to Cheboygan on Monday. The Gladiators (9-11, 8-6 Lake Michigan) host Cadillac on Tuesday.

Cadillac 68

Alpena 38

Cadillac: The win locks up the Big North Conference championship for the Vikings for the third straight season; although this year's conference title is Cadillac's first outright Big North crown in that span. Kyle McGowan 16 points, 6 rebounds; Eli Main 15 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals; Charlie Howell 12 points, 4 rebounds; Grand Williams 12 points (4 3-pointers).

UP NEXT: The Vikings (17-2, 9-0 Big North) travel to Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart on Monday.

Bellaire 59

Joburg 26

Bellaire: Every Bellaire player scored as the Eagles clinched at leas a share of the Ski Valley Conference championship with the win. Ethan Lambert 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists; Drake Koepke 9 points, 4 steals, 2 assists; Corperryale Somers 9 points; Kaden Battershell 8 points, 2 assists, 2 steals.

UP NEXT: The Eagles (17-3, 14-1 Ski Valley) host Mancelona on Tuesday.

Marion 58

Bear Lake 40

Bear Lake: Myles Harless 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals; Grady Harless 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals; Easton Nowak 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block.

UP NEXT: The Lakers (5-15, 4-12 West Michigan D) welcome Big Rapids Crossroads on Wednesday.

Manton 48

Lake City 44

UP NEXT: The Rangers (9-10, 8-7 Highland) play at Buckley on Thursday. The Trojans (5-15, 2-13 Highland) head to Gaylord on Tuesday.

Ellsworth 70

Burt Lake NMC 56

UP NEXT: The Lancers (9-12, 8-4 Northern Lakes) head to Grand Traverse Academy on Tuesday.

TC West JV 62

TC Central JV 31

Traverse City West: Blake LaFaive 21 points; Drew Esper 10 points; Jacob Bannish 8 points; Brody Jones 8 points.

St. Francis JV 61

Harbor Springs JV 44

Traverse City St. Francis (13-7, 10-4 Lake Michigan): Louis Rhein 22 points; Alex Jetter 12 points; Mason Hoelscher 12 points.

TC West frosh 56

TC Central frosh 40

Traverse City West: Logan LaCourse 21 points; Hudson Ross 16 points; Cruz Lockhart 8 points.

Manistee Frosh 44

St. Francis Frosh 36

Traverse City St. Francis: (13-5, 9-1 Lake Michigan): Cooper Sellers 13 points; Jack Young 7 points.

BOYS HOCKEY

Sault Area 3

Bay Reps 0

Bay Reps: Tyler Boynton-Fisher 27 saves.

UP NEXT: The Reps (15-7-2) play Orchard Lake St. Mary's at Big Bear Arena in Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday.

Cadillac 2(OT)

Cheboygan 1

UP NEXT: The Vikings (12-12, 3-6 Big North) play Petoskey in the regional semifinals on Wednesday.

Negaunee 11

Gaylord 3

UP NEXT: The Blue Devils (6-17, 1-9 Big North) host Essexville Garber on Saturday.

Petoskey 5

Tawas 3

UP NEXT: The Northmen (14-9-1, 4-6 Big North) head to Midland on Saturday.