The Hawks, who finished with 15 turnovers, tied the game three times with chances to pull ahead in the third quarter, but the Comets never let them take a lead.
“We calmed down, slowed down our motion offense, reversed it, got plenty of touches, and we started playing in attack mode,” Adkins said. “We were tight to start the game, and when you play tight like that, most of the time it leads to turnovers. Mason, when you turn the ball over, they make you pay.”
The Comets re-established the upper hand with some quick transition baskets to open the fourth quarter as part of a 12-0 run in the first five minutes, and the gap never closed within 11 points after that.
Mason finished out the game at the free-throw line, making 13 of 16 attempts in the final period.
“It was good to get off to a quick start,” Comets coach Greg Richards said. “We talked about everyone wanting to make plays, and they came out like that. I don’t know if we got gassed or what but we just quit making plays, and then going into the fourth quarter, we said, ‘We’ve only got eight minutes, so everybody has to sell out and make plays.’ We got some key steals and pushed the ball with some transition baskets and that was huge for us.”
Mason was playing without starter Ben Schutte, who was out sick, but had three guys finish in double figures for scoring, led by Eddie Puisis’ 15 points and 11 rebounds. Tanner Knue added 12 points, Noah Pedelty had 10 and Matt King chipped in nine.
“Our kids stepped up really well, playing without Ben Schutte today,” Richards said. “Everyone has to do a little bit more. Nobody has to do a lot. If you look at the stats, that’s what we got.”
Evan Kuhlman finished with 11 points for East after being limited by double teams early, and Jarrett Cox added 10 points before fouling out late in the game.
The Hawks graduate just two seniors, including Kuhlman, who averaged 16.5 points per game, and bench player Cameron Kollanos.
“We had a good season,” Adkins said. “We lost eight seniors from last year so we didn’t have a lot coming back, but I saw a lot of growth with our older guys and some of our younger kids. Obviously, we didn’t win the championships we wanted, but I thought it was a great season.”
Lakota East 2-13-12-7—34
MASON (20-2): Eddie Puisis 4 6 15, Carlos Lewis 2 2 6, Matt King 3 3 9, Noah Pedelty 4 2 10, Tanner Knue 3 6 12. Totals: 16-19-52
LAKOTA EAST (16-8): Jalen Peck 2 1 5, Jackson See 1 0 2, Evan Kuhlman 5 0 11, Kyrell Metts 1 0 2, Jarrett Cox 3 4 10, Alex Mangold 2 0 4. Totals: 14-5-34
3-pointers: M 1 (Puisis), L 1 (Kuhlman)