Red Hawks open with impressive win, 97-82

#23, Gavin Rasler. Photo taken by: Randy Willis

Red Hawks open with impressive win, 97-82

By Tom O’Neill

            Sophomore Gavin Rasler had an inclination he would have a breakout game.  The Bethel Pilots just wish it wasn’t against them. Rasler scored 23 points in the first half, then added 16 more in the second half as Lake Michigan College cruised to a 97-82 season-opening victory before a standing-room only crowd.

            “I worked hard in the off season and I knew I would have a breakout game,” Rasler began. “Thirty nine is my high. I did it once in high school also.” Along with his 39 points, he picked up 11 rebounds for a double-double. “That could be a college high,” he added.

            LMC just kept feeding the ball inside to Rasler in the first half, collecting nine buckets, one three-pointer and two free throws. Bethel stayed close at halftime, spotting the Hawks a 40-30 lead. The Pilots made some adjustments on Rasler, preventing him from getting inside, but the 6-foot 5 guard moved outside, nailing four three-pointers. “Once I hit the first three-pointer, I just felt it.” Rasler said.

            Bryce Saxton joined the second-half shooting spree, hitting three of his own from long range and finished with 18 points. Malik Hall went inside with all of the attention given Rasler, scoring all of his 11 points in the second half for LMC.

            The Red Hawk lead was up to 22 points at the 10-minute mark of the second half, pushing it to 25 before Bethel rallied on a 17-7 run.  Second-year coach Jeremy Schaffer put his starters back in after a breather and it was game over.

            Schafer had commented in a pre-game story about his team’s speed and shooting ability. “We’re going to play fast. We forced them into 23 turnovers,” noted the coach, adding “we had 18, but I expect that to get down to 10 or under as we improve.” Rasler added “We’re all quick getting up and down and our guards are super fast.” The Hawks out-rebounded Bethel 48-44 and shot 46.4 percent from the field. They were 34.6 percent from three-point range, but in the second half 8 of 17.

            As for Rasler’s performance, Schaffer always expected him to have “one of those games. I hope he sees Bethel jerseys all season.” He also noted the play of freshman Ajani Parker coming off the bench. Parker had six points and eight rebounds.

            Lake Michigan is off until November 11 when they host Mott Community College from the MCCAA Eastern Conference. The Bears are ranked eighth nationally in the first NJCAA pre-season poll. Tipoff is 3 PM.

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