(PAINESVILLE, Ohio) – After Thursday's tough defeat, Lake Erie knew they could hang with the best. Case and point was today's defensive thriller that saw the Storm defeat visiting Hillsdale 53-52 in front of a packed Osborne Center on Senior Day Saturday afternoon.
It's the second victory over Hillsdale for Lake Erie in the series history. The last victory over the Chargers came on December 12, 2015.
The win inches Lake Erie closer to a second consecutive playoff berth in the G-MAC Tournament with an overall record of 15-9 and 10-6 in the conference. The Chargers, who already clinched a spot last week, fell the 16-7 overall and 12-4 in the league.
The go-ahead basket came from the hands of Gabe Kynard who spotted up for a triple with 1:11 left in the game. The Chargers answered immediately with a layup at the 48 second mark to set the final score, but those final 48 seconds were filled with plenty of drama.
On Lake Erie's return trip, a layup attempt rang in and out before the Chargers pulled down the carom to give the visitors one last chance. An errant jumper appeared to seal the deal for the Storm, but a jump ball was called and allowed one more chance with .4 seconds left. The inbounds pass was guarded well by Lamont Rhodes and forced a short shot to finally end the game.
Kynard finished with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-16 from the field. The Chargers were paced by Harrison Niego and Dylan Lowry who scored 13 each.
As one would expect, both teams were nearly even in every category. One area that Lake Erie did take advantage was inside the paint and off the turnover. The Storm outscored the Chargers in both with a 26-14 inside and 19-8 after a turnover.
Lake Erie now heads on the road for the final four games to close the regular season. First up is a trip to Cedarville on Thursday. Tip-off with the Yellow Jackets is set for 7:45 p.m.