(HILLSDALE, Mich.) – The best season in Lake Erie's Division II era came to a heartbreaking end in Hillsdale as the Storm fell 60-59 at Potter Arena Tuesday evening. The No. 6 Storm (17-12) erased an 11-point deficit with nine minutes remaining to take the lead, but the No. 3 Chargers dropped a layup with six seconds left to secure the win in the G-MAC Tournament quarterfinals.
The final minutes were back-and-forth as a Harrison Riggs 3-pointer gave the Storm a 55-53 lead with 2:53 to go, the Green and White's first lead since midway through the first half. Hillsdale's Dylan Lowry tied it up before Gabe Kynard put Lake Erie up once again with a jumper. Lowry then answered with a triple to give the hosts a 58-57 with 1:08 to play.
After Hillsdale stole the ball with 35 seconds left, all hope appeared lost before Kynard was able to steal the ball back and go in for the go-ahead layup with 13 seconds left on the clock. Living up to their nickname, the Chargers raced down the court for their own go-ahead basket on a Lowry jumper.
With one final opportunity, the Storm flew down the court in hopes of scoring a second consecutive upset in as many years, but a final layup attempt was blocked at the last second.
As expected, it was another defensive battle between two teams that didn't allow the other to score more than 61 points in any of the three games this season. This time, however, the field goal percentages were much higher. Overall Lake Erie made 51 percent (25-of-49) from the field with five 3-pointers on the night while the Chargers made 47.2 percent (25-of-53). Rebounds were also nearly even with the Storm on top of a 28-27 difference.
Kynard finished with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-14 from the field. Riggs added 10 as the only other Storm player in double-figures. Lamont Rhodes was close to a double-double as he pulled down 10 caroms to go with eight points.
Hillsdale was led by Lowry with 16. He was followed by Davis Larson with 14 and Nick Czarnowski with 13.