BOYNE CITY — Glen Lake did what no other team in the state could do — twice.
The Lakers beat St. Francis 49-39 Friday for the Class C district title in Bonye City. It was the second time Glen Lake beat the Gladiators this year, the only two losses of the season for last year’s state runner-up.
“This group of seniors have been together for a long time and they work really hard,” Glen Lake coach Todd Hazelton said. “We lost to them by 40 last year in the district, and after that game I challenged them. And you know what? They lived up to the challenge and they did a great job tonight.”
Friday’s win was the first district title for Glen Lake since 2002. The Lakers (21-2) will play Lincoln Alcona on Monday at Traverse City West in the regional semifinal.
”It’s the biggest win of my life,” said Mike O’Brien, a four-year starter for the Lakers. “Having never played in a district championship game in basketball, we came to play tonight. We played great defense. They were tough, but we really, really wanted this one. We’ve been working hard for it for a long time, so it feels good that it finally paid off.”
The loss ended St. Francis’ season at 20-2.
”This was one of the most fun teams I’ve coached from a work ethic standpoint,” Gladiators coach Keith Haske said. “I think two practices all year I left thinking we didn’t go at it very hard. That’s the thing I’ll take away from these guys, the incredible spirit and energy they brought to practice every night. And, of course, the joy they brought to me, my family and St. Francis. They’re fun to watch. They met those expectations and beyond.”