Lions remain winless with loss to Samsons Saturday

Paul Peterson/For the Gazette Austin Carlson of Finlandia manuevers inside as Mitchell Borseth, 15. of Gogebic Community College defends in Saturday’s game at Paavo Nurmi Gym. The Samsons were 69-64 winners.

HANCOCK — A game that appeared out of reach with just ten minutes left to play almost fell into the laps of the Finlandia University men’s basketball team Saturday afternoon.

After shaving all but one point from a 22-point deficit against Gogebic Community College, the Lions gained control of the ball with 26 seconds left to play.

But an errant inbounds pass was picked off by the Samsons, who held on for a 69-64 win at Paavo Nurmi Center.

“We’re a young basketball team,” Finlandia coach Mike O’Donnell said. “We’re still learning how to win. That’s all you can really say.”

Samsons’ coach Dennis Mackey said he expected Finlandia to make a run at the end.

“You always expect a fight up here,” Mackey said. “I told the kids to get ready for it …. and sure enough …. they (Lions) got right back into it.”

Jamal Deshields Beard almost single handedly got the Blue and White into contention by scoring 16 of his game-high 26 points in the second half.

“Jamal had a great game,” O’Donnell said. “He took over the leadership role and got us back into the game.”

In the opening half, Finlandia’s shooting was nearly as frigid as the weather outside, hitting just 5-of-22 from the field.

Minus leading scorer Jaden Janke (out with an injury), the Lions could not find the range from three-point territory.

“We had some good shots from outside,” O’Donnell said. “We just couldn’t hit them. I’m sure that if we had Janke in there, we would have fared better.”

In the meantime, the Samsons managed to stay ahead as sophomore forward Mitchell Borseth played a key role. The Ontonagon High product collected a team-leading 15 points and hit big shots down the stretch.

“He (Borseth) has been our go-to guy since he joined us at mid-term,” Mackey said. “He does more than score, he makes his teammates play better.”

In addition to the big game from Deshields-Beard, the Lions received 13 points, four assists and four steals from Dylan Underwood.

Senior center Austin Carlson had a solid game with eight points, a game-high 16 rebounds and several blocks. Tyler Browner laced nine markers.

Gogebic, which is 6-18 on the season, got 14 points from Shimon Shinal. Brayden Tomes added 14, while reserve Tommy Libertoski put in 11 more.

Finlandia will travel to Silver Lake College on Tuesday.

GOGEBIC CC — Tomes 13, Suzik 8, Shinal 14, Nelson 2, Borseth 15, Dray 4, Libertoski 11, Bogaczyk 2, FG: 24-65; FT: 11-16; Rebounds: 42 (Drey 9); Fouls: 19; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Tomes 3, Libertoski 3, Borseth 1, Suzik 1.

FINLANDIA — Oom 4, Heinonen 2, Carlson 8, Browner 9, Deshields-Beard 26; Underwood 13, Wood 1, Shumate 1. FG: 20-52; FT: 19-26; Rebounds: 40; (Carlson 16); Fouls: 17; Fouled out: Oom; 3-point FG:  Browner 2, Underwood 1, Oom 1; Deshields-Beard 1.

Halftime score: GCC 30, Finlandia 26.