MATTOON — The Olney Central men’s basketball team was doing exactly what it did in the first game against Lake Land in the first half of the second game.
The Blue Knights hit eight 3-pointers and shot 52.6 percent from the field as OCC built a 13-point lead.
Lake Land found a way to slow down the Blue Knights in the second half and eventually took a slight lead in the second half.
But the Lakers had a defensive lapse after a rebound by OCC in the final seconds of the game. It led to an Erikas Jakstys 3-pointer, which wound up being the game winner as Lake Land lost 88-85 on Friday at Laker Field House.
“When you leave guys wide open that can shoot, that’s what happens,” LLC coach Brandon Colvin said. “I thought we did a good job in the second. The last 20 seconds is a fast-break scramble. One of those things where someone probably found the shooter and they didn’t. I thought we did a good job fighting back.
“We have to live and learn. We still have games to play yet. We are 17-13 and hopefully come back to practice on Sunday and go to 18-13 after Monday.”
Lake Land hosts a District game at 7 p.m. on Monday.
It was the last regular-season game for sophomores Kasey Elam, Josh Jefferson, Sean Kromah, Amel Kuljuhovic, Josh Robinson and Davion Pettigrew.
“That group did a good job of building a foundation that we can hopefully keep going,” Colvin said. “We are going to miss them. They’ve done a great job the last two years of sticking with it. We have to replace them, which will be very hard to do.”
Elam had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Jefferson had 19 points and six assists. Robinson scored 18 points and Kevin Williams added 10 points.
“I thought (Josh Robinson) did a good job and Kasey played great this game,” Colvin said. “I should’ve put Kasey back in sooner (late in the game) and that’s on me.”
Lake Land got off to a hot start as Elam threw down a dunk and then sank a 3-pointer. Kuljuhovic hit two free throws as the Lakers took a 7-0 lead.
Lake Land was up 14-8 went the Blue Knights started to get hot from deep as Josiah Wallace and Wade Coomer hit back-to-back 3-pointers and OCC got another score for an 8-0 run and a 16-14 lead.
OCC was up 19-17 when Coomer had back-to-back buckets and Nathan Scott had a dunk to take a 25-17 lead.
Kromah hit a three and Elam had back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Lake Land within one at 27-26. OCC had an answer, though, and had an answer anytime the Lakers got within a point or two in the first half.
OCC had a 32-31 lead when Wallace scored, Jakstys hit a 3 and later got a layup and Coomer hit a three to put the Blue Knights up 42-31 with about 4 minutes left in the half.
Lake Land got a bucket from Kuljuhovic, a traditional 3-point play from Josh Jefferson and a three from Elam to cut it to 44-39, but Jakstys hit two more 3-pointers, and a bucket by Coomer gave OCC a 52-39 lead going into halftime.
The Blue Knights hit eight 3-pointers in the first half and shot 52.6 percent (20-of-38) from the field. Coomer had 17 points in the first half and Jakstys had 14.
Lake Land chipped away at the lead and an Allante' Harper 3-pointer gave the Lakers a 65-63 lead, but OCC retook the lead quickly and went up 73-67.
The Lakers went on a 10-0 run and Josh Robinson had eight of those with two 3-pointers and a layup as Lake Land went up 77-73 with 7:25 left.
Lake Land was up 83-79 with when Jakstys had back-to-back buckets to tie the game at 83 with 2:17 left.
The game was tied at 85 with 20 seconds left when Jefferson’s jumper missed and OCC got the rebound and Jakstys hit a 3 from the corner.
Robinson’s 3 at the buzzer was off and Olney Central picked up an 88-85 win.