HOUGHTON - Down and about to be counted out, the Houghton High boys' basketball team got off the canvas Tuesday night against Lake Linden-Hubbell.
Trailing by eight points with 1:44 remaining at Alumni Gym, the Orange and Black looked to outside gunner Trent Keteri.
"He (Keteri) was having an off night to that point," HHS coach Jared Lawson said after his team's thrilling 59-57 victory. "But he's the kind of guy who has confidence in his shot ... and thank goodness he did tonight. You take a win any way you can get it."
Houghton's Nate Gockenbach goes up for a shot as Cole Beauchamp, Tyler Roose, center, and Trevor Ongie of LL-Hubbell defend Tuesday night. The Gremlins scored a 59-57 win.
The Lakes looked like sure winners after marching out to a 50-36 lead after three quarters, using an effective pressure defense that had the Gremlins totally out of sync.
"I thought we played great basketball for three and half quarters," LL-H coach Jack Kumpula said. "We just weren't very good down the stretch. We missed two one-and-ones and made some mistakes. We're an experienced eam, we have to be better."
Keteri, scoring 13 of his 16 points in the final quarter, notched a rare four-point play to bring his team to within 56-55 with 1:19 left.
"That was probably the big play of the game," Lawson said. "It changed how we played the rest of game ... as far as strategy."
Then the senior coolly netted a triple off the wing to put his team ahead to stay at 58-56 with 27 ticks left.
After Cole Beauchamp of the Lakes hit one charity toss seconds later, Houghton's Nate Gockenbach counted one of two free throws with 9.9 seconds left for the final reading.
A turnover doomed any last-second hopes the Blue and Gold entertained.
Houghton fell behind by an 8-0 margin to begin the game but scored the next 11 points for the game for an 11-8 lead after one period.
The Lakes battled back to knot the game at 23-all at the break behind a nice offensive run by Luke Monette.
A 27-13 scoring edge in the third stanza put the visitors ahead by the aforementioned 50-36 score by quarter's end.
Tyler Roose tallied 10 points in the big quarter and Trevor Ongie nailed a pair of key treys.
It all appeared academic until Keteri suddenly caught fire in the waning minutes.
"It's a very big win for our team," Lawson said. "Lake Linden has a quality team, they're going to make some waves in the tournament."
Keteri's 16 points and five steals topped the 11-4 winners. Gockenbach and Eero Niemela each dropped in 13 markers. The former grabbed 12 rebounds, the latter had six assists.
The Lakes (13-2) were paced by Roose with 19 points. Monette had a nice game with 17 points and four steals. Ongie tossed in nine more, while Brett Poissant had eight points and a team-high 11 boards.
While disappointed, Kumpula said his team will concentrate on wrapping up the Copper Country Conference Friday at home against Jeffers.
"Sure, you hate to lose a game like that. But we'll get to work and get ready for Jeffers," he said.
HHS will get ready for a tough Escanaba team Friday at home.
"We've got a tough stretch of games coming up in the next week or so," Lawson pointed out. "We have work to do."