Linden – Blake Lund is different than many other star players on their prep basketball teams.
There are times while watching a Linden varsity boys basketball game it’s easy to forget he’s on the court. Sometimes other teammates are hot or maybe a foe is playing strong defense against Linden’s junior perimeter shooting wizard so his point production doesn’t grow considerably high.
But just because he’s quiet for five minutes, 10 minutes or even for a full half, that doesn’t mean Lund will remain quiet. In fact, in most cases that’s the best indication the eventual hot streak is about to surface.
That was the scenario during Linden’s 61-47 victory at home against the Swartz Creek Dragons. Lund had hit just one bucket in the first half. He had just five first-half points as Linden held on to a 24-21 halftime lead against the visiting Swartz Creek Dragons.
However, the third quarter was a different story. Lund hit on 5-of-9 field goals, including four three-pointers, during the third stanza, scoring 18 points during the eight-minute session. During the run, he put Swartz Creek’s top offensive player, Terrian Armstrong, in foul trouble and put the Eagles ahead 46-33 entering the final period. Swartz Creek would cut into the lead during the fourth quarter, but would never lead again as the Eagles (5-1) remain the only undefeated in Metro League Stripes Division (3-0) play.
The biggest Lund buckets came right after Swartz Creek’s Christopher Gill tied the game up at 24-24 with a three-pointer just 36 seconds into the third quarter. On Linden’s next possession, Lund hit a three-pointer at the top of the key while being fouled by Armstrong. Blake converted the free throw, finishing the four-point play. Just more than a minute later, history repeated itself. Lund hit another trey at the top of the free throw circle and was fouled by Armstrong again. Lund hit the free throw. Suddenly, what was a 24-24 tie became a 34-24 Linden lead just 88 seconds later. Lund would remain hot the rest of the quarter, sparking the Eagles to the victory.
“The first one was off great ball movement, great screens from my teammates,” Lund said as he eventually described both four-point plays. “The second one I was pushing the ball and everyone sagged inside the (three-point) line. I’ve always been taught by (Linden varsity boys basketball coach Chris) Root and my Dad when that happens to pull up and shoot.
“(Armstrong) was doing pretty good. He got 14 (points) on me in the first half. He was knocking down those shots. And I got those two lucky fouls on him and that pretty much forced him to sit the rest of the half.”
“I think we just did a better job being who we are, moving the ball – moving, spacing – and I think we just took better shots,” Root said. “I don’t’ want to oversimplify it, but that’s what I think it was.”
Lund was Linden’s primary beneficiary to the better offensive play as he scored 24 of Linden’s 37 second-half points.
“We were struggling at the half,” Lund said. “We didn’t have a really good rhythm going so we knew we had to get some good team shots.”
While Lund’s key four-point plays were key, Swartz Creek still remained competitive. The Dragons opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run, cutting Linden’s lead to just 48-42 after a three-pointer by Jacob Stewart with 4:24 left in the contest. However, back-to-back buckets by Richen Lund and Blake Lund lifted the gap back to 52-42. The run grew to seven points when Reichen Lund made a crowd-pleasing layup while getting fouled. Lund finished the three-point play and Linden suddenly led 55-42. Swartz Creek would never get any closer than nine points the rest of the game.
Blake Lund finished with 29 points, four rebounds and two steals. He even had a blocked shot. Reichen Lund had 11 points with nine of them coming in the final quarter. Brenden Miller had a steady performance, collecting nine points, four rebounds and two steals. Armstrong finished with 14 points, but didn’t score a point in the second half for Swartz Creek.
Linden travels to Owosso Tuesday.