By Dean Holzwarth
Special for Second Half
HOLLAND – With 4.5 seconds remaining and his team trailing by two points, Demetrius Lake was only trying to help force overtime in last Friday’s Ottawa-Kent Conference Green showdown against visiting Zeeland West.
Instead, the standout junior guard from Holland High School made history with one dramatic shot.
“When they inbounded the ball to me, I was going to try and beat everybody down the floor to get a bucket and go to overtime,” Lake said. “That’s was all I was thinking. Get to the rim. Get to the rim.”
Lake altered his plan when he saw Zeeland West’s defense. He had only one option.
“They came out in a half-court trapping situation to stop me, so I push the ball down the sideline as fast as I can and I look up and there is only two seconds on the clock,” Lake recalled. “So I shoot a 3 behind the arc, and I’m watching it go in as I follow through on my shot. It was like, wow, did that really happen?”
It did happen. A stunning buzzer-beater from the right wing that not only gave the Dutch a come-from-behind victory, but it gave Lake a school-record 50 points.
“Everybody was chasing me, and the place erupted,” Lake said. “Fans were jumping out of the seats and running on the court. It was a crazy atmosphere.”
Lake said the night was memorable for more than one reason.
“It was special in a lot of different ways,” he said. “It was a conference game against a Zeeland West team that played us tough, and breaking the record on a game-winning shot was real special because it was in front of my home crowd. The whole crowd, including the principal, superintendent and the athletic director. They were all there watching me, and it was just big for me and my teammates.”
Holland third-year head coach Paul Chapman has seen clutch shots from Lake before.
“He is not afraid to take those kind of shots, so I wasn’t surprised when it went in,” Chapman said. “It was a real tough shot, and he had guys all over him. He was way out by the sideline.
“He scored 50 points, and that overshadowed some other things because he also led us in that game in steals, assists and tied for the lead in rebounds. He played pretty much an all-around great game. He put the exclamation mark on everything with the 3-pointer at the buzzer.”
The 5-foot-11 Lake, who recently turned 17, eclipsed a longstanding school record. Ron Maat owned the previous mark, scoring 49 points during a game in 1960.
Lake had his sights set on the record.
“I knew when I scored my first 40-point game against Cedar Springs that I was aiming for that record because I knew I was going to end up breaking it sometime this season,” Lake said. “It really wasn’t my main focus, but since I was playing middle school basketball one of the goals that I had was breaking records here at Holland High School.
“It’s special for me to have my name up there and in the record books. You have to work for that, and that’s what I did.”
Lake’s heroics helped improve Holland’s record to 6-3 and 2-0 in the conference. Through nine games, he’s averaging an astounding 33.3 points per game, with four games of 40 points or better.
Lake also contributes in other ways, averaging 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 steals and 3.0 assists per game. He’s shooting 43 percent from the field and 83 percent from the free-throw line.
Last season, as a sophomore, Lake averaged 25 points per game and earned a spot on the Class A all-state team. He scored at least 30 points eight times.
While Lake has always possessed the ability to score points at a rapid pace, he improved other facets of his game during the offseason.
“He’s a better ball handler, and that’s one thing he worked on, and he’s shooting a higher percentage,” Chapman said. “He’s been very aggressive with the ball, and he has the ability at times to put us on his back and kind of carry us through.
“He’s also a tremendous competitor. He really wants to win and wants to do well. He’s a fantastic athlete and not afraid to fail. He does a lot for us.”
Lake, who was pulled up to varsity from the junior varsity 11 games into his freshmen season, has seen all types of defenses from opposing teams in an attempt to contain him.
It’s something he anticipated entering the season.
“I worked really hard this summer on being more consistent so I can be aware of teams running different defenses at me,” Lake said. “I really concentrated on my 3-pointers, lay-ups, free throws and getting other players involved. Alumni will come into practice and guard me, and we work on denying me the ball in practice.”
Lake also has stepped into a leadership role.
“He’s a much better leader,” Chapman said. “Last year he was on a senior-dominated team, but now he’s the guy with experience. He’s done a good job at getting guys in the right spots and getting them to compete and believe in themselves.”
Lake has received attention from several colleges including the likes of Purdue, Michigan State, DePaul and Youngstown State.
However, Lake has a wish list of three top programs he hopes to play for in the future.
“I really want to go to Duke because it’s a dream school for me, and number two is Michigan State, to play for Tom Izzo,” Lake said. “And then there is UCLA. Those are the top three I really want to go to.”
Dean Holzwarth covered primarily high school sports for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years and more recently served as sports editor of the Ionia Sentinel and as a sports photojournalist for WZZM. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) Holland's Demetrius Lake gets to the basket during a game last season against Hudsonville Unity Christian. (Middle) Lake throws down a dunk against Holland Christian. (Photos courtesy of Holland High School.)
— Andrew Pratley (@pratleyac) January 16, 2016
We've got a long way to go before the stories of this season conclude with four MHSAA boys basketball champions crowned March 15 at Michigan State University's Breslin Center.
But the first week of the 2023-24 regular season gave us plenty to fill our first installment of “Breslin Bound” – our official tip-off to following more than 700 boys basketball teams through those final buzzers in East Lansing.
Week in Review
The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:
1. Flint Carman-Ainsworth 46, Flint Beecher 44 This was their first meeting since January 2022 and it provided a memorable start as the Cavaliers downed the reigning Division 3 champion.
2. Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice 75, Ferndale 66 These two both have several new contributors, but big things will be expected again as well as Brother Rice regularly contends in Division 1 and Ferndale is the reigning Division 2 champion.
3. Lansing Waverly 58, Detroit Martin Luther King 57 Waverly took major strides last season doubling its win total from 2021-22 and could be on the verge of more coming off this impressive victory at the Detroit Douglass Tip-Off Classic.
4. Norway 49, Munising 48 After the Knights gave Munising a tough final regular-season test last season, the Mustangs went on to claim the Division 4 championship. Norway will attempt to build off back-to-back 15-7 seasons starting with this win.
5. Wyoming Tri-unity Christian 64, Grandville Calvin Christian 44 These two combined to finish 46-9 a season ago, when Calvin defeated Tri-unity 63-42 in the regular-season finale (although the Defenders rebounded to finish Division 4 runners-up).
With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:
Rochester Adams (2-0) The Highlanders provided one of the best late-breaking stories of last season, reaching the Division 1 Quarterfinals after finishing fourth of five teams in a strong Oakland Activities Association Red that also featured North Farmington and Ferndale. The momentum started rolling again with wins last week over Milford 52-48 and Macomb L’Anse Creuse North 74-59.
Utica (2-0) Last season’s co-champion in the Macomb Area Conference Blue defeated MAC White reigning champion Port Huron Northern 68-49 in their opener and then Utica Eisenhower 56-41 at the MAC Champions of Champions event at Center Line. Utica improved to 15-7 last season after finishing 7-14 in 2021-22.
Dundee (2-0) After holding its own last season in a strong Lenawee County Athletic Association and finishing 13-12 overall, Dundee is hoping to turn a fast start last week into a climb up the standings with league play starting Friday. The Vikings doubled up East Jackson 52-26 and downed Milan 67-37 to start things off.
Goodrich (1-0) A 22-5 finish last season included a shared championship in the Flint Metro League Stars and a run to the Division 2 Quarterfinals, where the Martians fell by only five to eventual champion Ferndale. The second-to-last of those five losses came to Flint Beecher, 70-55, but Goodrich avenged it Friday with a 58-55 win over the Bucs.
Hillsdale (2-0) The Hornets finished just 4-19 last season, their second sub-.500 in a row. But the turnaround may be starting. Hillsdale is halfway toward last year’s win total after defeating Union City 53-45 and Jonesville 50-40 – and after losing to Union City 52-36 and Jonesville 39-23 last season, with Jonesville going on to finish 19-6.
Royal Oak Shrine Catholic (2-0) This is another team well on its way to bettering last season’s success by Jan. 1. After going 3-19 last winter, Shrine defeated Bloomfield Hills Roeper 48-30 and Utica Ford 55-52 in overtime last week. Ford had defeated the Knights 63-50 last season, and the 55 points Shrine scored this time would have been their second-highest total of 2022-23.
Adrian Lenawee Christian (2-0) Lenawee Christian finished last season on an 11-5 run after a 2-7 start, and might be rolling that right into this season as well after opening with a 74-60 win over Blissfield and 73-58 overtime victory over Hanover-Horton. Blissfield was among teams to deal the Cougars a loss during last season’s tough early stretch. Lenawee Christian is playing in the Tri-County Conference this winter after playing previously as an independent.
Wakefield-Marenisco (2-0) The Cardinals were a solid 13-10 last season, with the final week including a third win over Bessemer as they faced off in a District Semifinal, followed by a third loss to Ironwood in the District championship game. This season’s first week saw the same schedule, but a better outcome – Wakefield-Marenisco edged Bessemer 60-57 and this time defeated Ironwood 48-30. Ironwood was first and W-M third last season in the Copper Mountain Conference Porcupine Mountain.
Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up:
Tuesday – River Rouge (1-0) at Ferndale (1-1) – As noted above, Ferndale was last season’s Division 2 champion, and defeated Rouge 72-60 in last winter’s meeting.
Friday – Kalamazoo Central (0-0) at Battle Creek Central (0-0) – These longtime rivals finished first and third, respectively, in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East last season.
Saturday – Detroit Cass Tech (0-0) at Holt (1-0) – The Rams host the reigning Division 1 champion Technicians in the 4:30 p.m. game of the Moneyball Classic.
Saturday – Grand Rapids South Christian (0-0) vs. Rockford (1-0) at Calvin University – This will be the 10 a.m. opener of The Invite at Calvin University, with the reigning Division 2 runner-up Sailors taking on a Rockford team coming off an 18-win season.
Saturday – Grand Rapids Catholic Central (0-0) vs. Grand Rapids Northview (1-0) at Calvin University – This will cap off The Invite tipping approximately 7:35 p.m. and pitting last season’s Ottawa-Kent Conference Gold co-champion and White outright champion, respectively.
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PHOTOS (Top) A Westland John Glenn player gets to the basket during U-D Jesuit's season-opening 83-48 win over the Rockets. (Middle) Bath defenders surround a Charyl Stockwell player during the Sentinels' 63-55 victory. (Top photo by Olivia B. Photography; middle photo by Click by Christine McCallister.)