LAKE CITY — Manton turned the intensity and effort up another level.

And when it mattered, Lake City struggled to match it.

The Rangers picked up a Highland Conference boys basketball victory, beating the Trojans 60-46 on Thursday.

Manton coach Ryan Hiller was pleased with how his team played.

“Our guys played with a lot of intensity,” he said. “They went for every rebound and scrapped all night long.

“Lucas McKernan in the back of our defense did a great job of not giving up layups and keeping people in front of us. Lincoln Hicks and Logan Patrick gave us some great minutes, too.”

On the flip side, Lake City coach Brad Besko wasn’t all too happy.

“We got exactly what we deserved,” he said. “We got outhustled, outworked and turned the ball over way too many times. We need to get this fixed or that’s going to continue.

“Credit Manton and Coach Hiller, too, their kids played tremendously hard and tremendously well.”

Manton led 17-11 after the first quarter and 30-25 at halftime. It was 41-39 going into the fourth quarter before the Rangers pulled away.

Johnathen Traxler paced Manton with 20 points while Luke Puffer scored 15 and Hicks had 11.

Gavin Bisballe paced Lake City with 17 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three blocks while Darin Kunkel had 14 points and two steals. Noah Keway added five points, five rebounds and three steals while Brady Becker added four points.

Besko also commended the play of AJ VanDuinen for filling his role well despite being sick.

Manton is at Houghton Lake on Wednesday while Lake City is at McBain.

LEROY — That was near pretty perfect.

Northern Michigan Christian started strong and never looked back in a 67-32 win over Pine River in a Highland Conference boys basketball contest Thursday night.

The Comets were up 16-5 after the first quarter and then outscored the Bucks 24-4 in the second for a commanding 40-9 halftime lead.

“We came out with focus tonight and everybody knew what they were doing from top to bottom,” NMC coach Kyle Benthem said. “We were able to jump out on them in the first quarter and then Landon Ochampaugh had a big second quarter.

“He had a breakthrough game for us and we’ve been waiting for this from him.”

Pine River coach Brian Goodenow said NMC’s defense was too strong for his team.

“Their full court pressure ate us alive,” he said. “We knew they were going to play it, yet we were totally unprepared and turned the ball over time after time.

“They also dominated the glass against us, on the rare occasion that they didn’t knock down their shots. They are a very good team and shoot the ball very well, but I would like to hope they didn’t see our best tonight. We will regroup in practice tomorrow and get ready for three games next week.”

Ochampaugh paced the Comets with 13 points and four rebounds while Trevin Winkle added 12 points, five rebounds and three steals.

Blake DeZeeuw had 12 points, five rebounds and three steals while Nate Eisenga and Carter Quist each scored nine.

NMC hosts Harrison on Wednesday while Pine River hosts Farwell on Monday.

HOUGHTON LAKE — The defense was pretty solid.

So, too, was the rebounding.

It was the offense that continues to be a struggle.

McBain dropped a 39-25 decision to Houghton Lake in a Highland Conference boys basketball contest Thursday night.

The Ramblers played well early, leading 11-5 after the first quarter but the Bobcats turned that around and led 18-13 at halftime. It was 26-21 going into the fourth quarter.

“These kids are playing hard and I can’t fault their effort,” McBain coach Bruce Koopman said. “We had a picture-perfect first quarter and then we struggled.”

Brock Maloney had a strong night for McBain with eight points while Ben Rodenbaugh and Joe Winkle each scored six.

McBain hosts Lake City on Wednesday. | 775-NEWS (6397)