Packer loss ends area basketball season
By Ken DeLaat
Photos By Mike Gesler, Catalpa Photography
South Christian 74 Fremont 27
They were the last area team left standing in tournament play. Still, lot of things were going to need to go Fremont’s way if they were going to have a chance to knock off a really good South Christian squad. The three pointers would need to fall they would have to protect the ball against a lightning quick Sailor defensive backcourt and getting some points in the paint would be crucial. Meanwhile they would need to somehow deny offensive boards and limit the damage the Sailors can do from distance.
All those things would need to happen along with perhaps a crucial alignment of the stars.
South Christian showed everyone in the gym why it was no surprise when they knocked off perennial powerhouse Godwin, halting the lengthy Wolverine run of District titles. The came out and took command early never letting up on the gas and crushing any attempts at a Packer run. With a smothering defense, a lethal group of shooters and total dominance on the glass the Sailors cruised to a 45-12 lead by intermission. Four different SC players hit home with a total of 6 three pointers including a bomb at the buzzer to put an exclamation point on a stellar first half performance.
The Packers won the tip and held a brief 3-2 lead when Carter Moon hit from beyond. The Sailors countered with a quick 10 point run leading to a Packer time out. Bailey Baddis came off the bench and fired in a triple to stop the streak and following a SC basket Varsity newcomer Tristen Campbell hit one to keep the Packers within 7. A (rare) Sailor turnover gave Fremont a shot at pulling even closer as the quarter was coming to an end.
Then the wheels came off. A quick steal and score by Peyton Vis and an immediate repeat followed by a Packer turnover and a triple at the horn by Conner Kok and the quarter ended with the Sailors suddenly holding a 14 point edge.
And the Packers could not recover.
Buckets by Ben Schmidt and Logan Karnemaat provided the only offense for Fremont in the second quarter and the halftime rest did nothing to improve matters. The second half opened with a Packer turnover and a 12-0 run by the Sailors that ended when Campbell ripped a 3 from far beyond the arc. Soon the lead was in running clock territory and the game and the season came to an end for Fremont.
"We struggled from the get go not able to handle their pressure and get the ball inside, or able to make shots,” said Coach Pete Zerfas. “ South Christian showed why they were able to knock off the number 2 team in the state with a multitude of shooters who could shoot from any range. We were just beaten by a much better team.
“That was my 9th regional and I can’t remember a single team with that type of size that could shoot like that. Our kids had a great season winning Conference and Districts, but if we are ever going to compete at the regional level going south, we have to have more scoring on the floor. It was a good learning experience for our kids that return. This year was the first time any of our kids have won a championship or finished first at any level in basketball, so it was a nice step up. Next year we will try to get even better."