BY DENNIS CHASE
FRANKFORT — Frankfort's Connor Bradley had just one thought on his mind after he ended up with the ball following a mad scramble after a Glen Lake turnover off an inbound pass in the closing seconds of Thursday night's Northwest Conference basketball showdown.
"I was just hoping I wouldn't miss that shot, that was all that was running through my head," the junior guard said.
Bradley hit his shot in the paint with 6.4 seconds remaining to lift the unbeaten Panthers to a stunning 42-41 win over Glen Lake, ending the Lakers' nine-game winning streak.
Glen Lake (9-2, 5-1) led by 11 at the start of the fourth quarter and was still up five with under a minute to play.
"It's almost a microcosm of Manistee (nine days ago)," Frankfort coach Reggie Manville said. "We were down 10 with seven minutes to go there and came back and won by four.
"I can't say enough about my kids. They never give up. They battle to the very end. This is one of the biggest victories at Frankfort in a long time."
The Panthers (10-0, 6-0) started their last minute comeback with a Brandon Schaub basket with 45 seconds left that cut the Lakers lead to 41-38. Following a blocked shot on the other end, the Panthers regained possession and eventually worked the ball into David Loney, who scored with about 15 seconds left to make it 41-40. Frankfort then applied man-to-man pressure on the inbound, forced a turnover under the basket. Bradley ended up with the ball — and the basket.
After calling time, Glen Lake pushed the ball upcourt but misfired on two shots.
"That's part of being mentally ready," Glen Lake coach Todd Hazelton said. "I told them we wanted to run a certain (press) breaker, but it got loud, we panicked and threw the ball away.
"That's a growing thing. These games are a tool for us. We have to learn from this and get better. And we will."
Loney, a sophomore, led all scorers with 19 points. He also had 10 rebounds.
"That was crazy, amazing," Loney said. "We were down, but we knew we were not out. We were in situation like this a couple weeks ago at Manistee."
Manville, who has downplayed Frankfort's No. 6 state ranking in Class D, told his players earlier in the season that if they were 9-0 and then beat Glen Lake he would acknowledge it.
"He came in (to the locker room) and said 'We're back. We're back,'" Loney said.
"The kids went nuts," Manville said. "They've been waiting for me to say that."
Glen Lake led 24-22 at half, then held the Panthers to three points in the third quarter to open a 36-25 lead, thanks to a zone that stymied Frankfort.
"Our defense was great," Hazelton said. "But 41 points? We're just not used to that on offense. Let's credit their defense. They did a good job, very physical. We didn't handle it well tonight."
"They made us shoot from outside and Owen (Stratton) wasn't hitting," Manville said. "He's our outside threat. He couldn't buy a basket. They were doubling Loney down low. We couldn't get him the ball. Other people were hesitant to shoot the ball. It seemed like things were out of sync."
The Panthers finally found an answer in the fourth quarter, led by Loney's nine points down the stretch.
Schaub and Stratton finished with eight points apiece.
Glen Lake was hindered by 3-of-8 shooting at the foul line in the fourth quarter. The Lakers missed the front end of two one-and-ones.
Michael O'Brien paced the Lakers with 11 points. He had three field goals, all in the first half.
"It's still there (league title) in front of us," Hazelton said.