The short-handed Lakers started with only eight players Saturday. (see above)

Lake Land College had to overcome two last-minute deficits and a greatly reduced roster due to COVID quarantines to defeat host Kankakee 105-103 in overtime, handing new coach Julian Larry his first career coaching victory.

The Lakers had only half of their 16-player roster available at tip off, including the loss of two starters from last year.

By the end of regulation, three players had fouled out leaving five available during the final three minutes of regulation and in overtime.

But the scrappy Lakers fought back.

The lead changed hands twice in the final minutes of regulation. Trailing by three points, Lake Land freshman Everett Stubblefield pulled up in transition for a jumper to move the Lakers within a point of Kankakee. After a defensive stop, the Lakers then threw a pass inside to Clint Weber for a layup and the lead. Lake Land led by three with 11 seconds remaining before Kankakee banked a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime.

With 10 seconds left in overtime, Stubblefield threw the ball away but then stole it back and took a shot that missed. Sophomore power forward Christian Kapongo grabbed the board and put it in to take the lead.

A defensive stop by Lake Land secured the victory.

“To win my first game feels great,” Larry said. “I must say that I am more proud and happy for these young men who showed through many different adversities that have been going since arriving on campus that they know how to keep fighting until the buzzer rings.”

Stubblefield finished with a game-high 31 points, along with six assists, five rebounds and four steals. Lake Land’s Jonah Smith added 28 points, 10 assists and four steals while Clint Weber had 21 rebounds and 11 rebounds. Leroy Walker had another 10 points and five rebounds.

Lake Land 105, Kankakee 103

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