AUBURN — First it was the supporting cast, then it was two of the big guns.
The Lakewood Park Panthers probably weren’t concerned with who it was, just that they had players step up to help withstand two furious comebacks by Clinton Christian in the second half Tuesday on their way to a 75-62 boys basketball win.
Josh Pike had 22 points and five assists, and Caedmon Bontrager added 17 points to go with nine rebounds and three blocks for Lakewood Park (2-0), but several other contributions helped the Panthers survive.
The Couriers (2-1) put four players in double figures, led by 15 from DuMarrion Williams. Seth Shetler had 11, and 6-foot-5 center Mike Durr and Nick Schrock both added 10.
A 25-point second quarter had the Panthers seemingly in control, up 36-21 at the half.
The Couriers stormed out with nine points in less than two minutes after the break, however, and continued hacking away at the Panther lead, finally drawing even at 43-43 on two Williams free throws with 1:25 left in the third quarter.
Everyone pitched in as Lakewood Park answered with an 11-0 run spanning the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. Carter Harman hit a 15-footer, Levi Hindle fed to Grant Merkel for another basket, and Harman sank two free throws as the quarter ended.
Merkel drove the baseline to score before Blake Miller drained a three early in the fourth quarter.
Clinton Christian stubbornly hung around, even with Durr and Williams in foul trouble. Williams scored off a steal and hit a three before a four-point play by Shetler reduced the margin to 59-56 with 3:45 left.
Bontrager helped the Panthers stay the course this time, turning in a three-point play and scoring on a drive to the basket. His deflection then led to a fast break score by Aiden Fetters off a pass from Giovi Talarico. Fetters then drilled a three, and the Panthers were up 69-56 with just 1:49 left.
In junior varsity play, Lakewood Park was a 38-29 winner behind 14 points from Cobin Moriarity and 12 from Cameron Hindle.