By KEVIN THOMPSON
SUBLETTE — Call it an early Christmas present. Call it a momentum grabber.
Call it a much-needed win for the Lakin Broncs as they held off Sublette, 54-48, to claim their first win of the season in boys Hi-Plains League action on Tuesday night.
And for new Lakin coach Steve Davidson, it couldn't have come at a better time. Following four straight losses to open the season, he was looking for something to change momentum for his team, and he got it.
"It feels good, let me tell you," Davidson said of win number one.
But the win didn't come easy.
The Broncs were down 9-0 with nearly half the first quarter gone before they scored, and for a moment, it looked like another struggle was in store for Lakin.
Then they turned up the heat on Sublette, taking a 12-11 lead after the Larks could only score on one trip out their next 11.
The second quarter see-sawed until Lakin went on a 7-0 run in the last 1:12 to take a 30-24 lead at halftime.
In the third, Lakin went on a scoring drought of nearly two minutes, but so did Sublette, except theirs lasted almost four minutes and the Broncs emerged with an eight-point lead.
Kyler Line cut that lead to three with just over three minutes to play, then Lakin built it back up to seven with 48 seconds to go.
Woody Patrick put back an offensive rebound and Johny Martens hit a three, and with 12 seconds left, the Larks were within two points.
But clutch free throws by Jarett Sauer and Cody Kinnier sealed the win for the Broncs.
Bryant Miller led Lakin with 22 points, including three 3-pointers.
Dalton Shalberg and Pedro Chavez came off the bench to provide much-needed rest time for the Broncs' inside players. Shalberg had nine points and eight boards in that role.
Those two also helped Lakin battle the boards against the bigger Larks.
"We're not big and we're going to have to battle and bang in there. If you do that the whole game, you're going to get tired. We're hoping to have a four-man rotation in there most of the time," Davidson said.
One of the other keys for Lakin's win was lack of turnovers (six), much improved over the first few games.
"After the tournament (last weekend), we sat down and set some team goals," Davidson said. "Just the fact that they're thinking about things like that helps us not turn the ball over so much."
The Larks played most of the game without Alex White, who scored 30 points on Saturday.
Taylor Williamson picked up for him and led the Larks with 19 points, but Sublette coach Justin Moore said it showed what his team can do in a bind like that.
"Our kids played hard. You can't fault their effort," he said. "I couldn't be prouder of the kids out on the floor the second half and how they competed."
White felt sick after a first-quarter injury and didn't play after that.
"It hurts us not having him in the game," Moore said. "But that's not to say we don't have the kids who can step in and take over."
Lakin is 1-4 and Sublette drops to 3-2.
Lakin 12 18 11 13 -- 54
Sublette 11 13 9 15 -- 48
Lakin (54) — Shalberg 4 1-3 9, Miller 8 3-6 22, Davidson 1 0-2 3, Sauer 0 2-2 2, Kinnier 2 3-6 7, Chavez 1 0-0 2, Armstrong 3 0-0 6, Geubelle 1 1-2 2. Totals 20 10-21 54.
Sublette (48) — Patrick 3 0-2 7, Riegel 1 0-0 2, Gesling 2 0-0 4, Williamson 8 5-6 21, Martens 1 0-0 3, Line 3 0-0 6, Gonzalez 2 1-4 5. Totals 20 6-12 48.
3-point goals--Lakin 4 (Davidson 1, Miller 3), Sublette 2 (Patrick 1, Martens 1). Fouls--Lakin 13, Sublette 15. Fouled out--none. Rebounds--Lakin 32 (Shalberg 8), Sublette 35 (Williamson 9, Line 9). Turnovers--Lakin 13, Sublette 25.