Packers survive Tiger attack, claim 2nd straight Gold crown
Story and photos by Alicia Jaimes
Fremont 60 Grant 59
The Tigers tossed everything they had at the first place Packers forcing the game into overtime before falling short in the extra frame and with a Reed City loss to Big Rapids Fremont claimed their second straight conference title.
The house was full as Packer and Tiger fans settled in for the rematch they’ve been waiting for since the two teams played in Grant more than a month ago. Since that game Grant has developed as a unit and came into this one having won 4 out of 5. And Fremont? They have run the table and muscled their way into first place.
Coming out of the gate the Packers and Tigers were back and forth. Fremont ended the first quarter holding a 17 to 13 lead. Diesel Rose nabbed almost half of Grant’s 13 points with a 2-pointer and 4 free throws.
This Tiger team has talent as well as heart and they battled back using their patented pick and roll offense to take back the lead and reach intermission with a 31-28 edge.
Led by Connor Vanderwilt who fired in a pair of triples as part of his 8 third quarter points the Tigers pushed the lead to 5 entering the final frame.
Dwn 8 points early in the quarter a fire was lit under the Packers as they made up ground in the splitting six 2’s between Logan Karnemaat, Carter Moon, Calvin Miller, Chris Kennedy, and Braiden McDonald.
As the countdown began, Packer and Tiger fans alike were on the edge of their seats as timeouts took place, fouls were called, and shots were made. With the Packers ahead 52-50, and time running out the game looked all but done until Seth Schuitema rebounded his own shot and dropped it in to send the game into overtime.
Karnemaat making 6 of the 8 points in the OT period, but the Packers still couldn’t shake the Tigers and with 6 seconds on the clock in a tie game McDonald toed the stripe missing the first attempt then draining what proved to be the game winner. Calvin Miller stepped up and made a defensive stop as time expired and the Packers escaped with the win.
Coach Zerfas: It was a classic Fremont/Grant game from the past of two teams hungry for a win. Our kids just seem to find a way. We made only 3 of 8 free throws in overtime, but 3 were enough for the win. We did not play poorly, Grant just played very well and we didn't panic and came back from being 8 down in the 4th to win our 14th straight game.”
Vanderwilt led the Tigers in scoring as he canned 18 with Rose and Carter Chase knocking down 13 apiece. Karnemaat led Fremont on offense with his own 18, while Calvin Miller scored 13, McDonald hit for 10 and Chris Kennedy tallied 8.
As the two teams shook hands a wild crowd in the background cheered them on and a game people will be talking about for a while was in the books.