Photos by Alexis Mercer
Story by Ken DeLaat
Newaygo 75 Big Rapids 68 OT
“We took a step forward tonight.”
Those were the words from Coach Barrette after his team fought back time and again to grab a well earned victory over a relentless Cardinal squad.
This was a physical match from the get-go as the lead seesawed back and forth through four tough quarters and an extra frame to determine the victor.
Kade Bhuyan began the scoring to give the Lions their first lead. He was answered by a bucket from Jake Martinson, the first of his 35 points on the night. Ryan Brummel and Francisco Rios both hit for 2 before the Cards went on an 8-0 run to move into the lead. Noah Cantu popped one in from outside to edge the Lions within a point but the visitors went on another run to end the first quarter with a 19-11 advantage.
The 8 point spread lasted less than 2 minutes as Connor Swinehart hit, Bhuyan picked a steal and scored, Cantu laced another from beyond the arc and Swinehart scored off a stop. Suddenly the Lions were back on top.
From there the teams exchanged blows as the lead changed hands 8 times in the second, finally reaching the halftime buzzer with the Cardinals holding a slim 31-30 edge.
Big Rapids came out of the locker room strong and pushed the lead to 39-32 before the Lions regrouped again and fired off 10 straight points to go back in front and edged their advantage to 48-43 entering the fourth. From there the scoring took on a Martinson vs. Swinehart look as the BR senior poured in a dozen points in the quarter while his senior counterpart from Newaygo wrestled in 10 improbable points by battling his way in the paint with 2-3 defenders seemingly helpless to stop him.
The hosts held a 3 point lead with seconds to go but Martinson fired in another triple and the teams went to OT.
In the extra session the Lions inched out to a 63-62 lead , then Cantu hit for 3, drew a charge then lit it up again from downtown to make it a 7 point game..
The Cardinals were forced to send the Lions to the line where they went 1-6 before Brummel hit 3 out of 4 and Swinehart aced a pair to secure the win.
“We played tougher than we have,” added Coach Barrette. “And it paid off down the stretch.”
Swinehart finished with a hard fought 28 points to go with 12 rebounds and Cantu rifled in 21 while grabbing a half dozen boards.
The Lions are now 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.
Fremont 67 Central Montcalm 54
The visiting Hornets stayed with the Pack for half a game, taking advantage of foul trouble that sent Logan Karnemaat to the bench for much of the half.
Coming out of intermission the Packers picked up the tempo and ran the lead to a dozen by the fourth before holding the Bees back and securing the win.
Braiden McDonald and Logan Karnemaat both had 6 points in that pivotal 3rd quarter.
Nine Pplayers made the scorers column for the Pack led by Karnemaat, McDonald and Carter Moon who finished with 14 points apiece. Joshua Zerfas dished out 5 assists and Tristan Campbell led the team on the glass pulling down 9 boards.
The Packers are now 6-1 overall and hold a 2-1 record in the Gold.
Grant 58 Chippewa Hills 56
The host Tigers battled back from a double digit deficit in the 2nd half against Chippewa Hills to earn the league win.
Grant cut the deficit to 37-46 to end the 3rd quarter and battled on both ends of the floor in the 4th. Brett Long and Diesel Rose competed intensely the whole game against two quality post players. Connor Vanderwilt led the scoring with 22, followed by Seth Schuitema with 18. Carter Chase scored all 11 of the Tiger's 3rd quarter points and finished with 13.
Jack Frebes scored 19 to lead Chip Hills with Mitch Kuzma adding 15.
Grant is now 4-3 overall with a 2-1 conference record.
Reed City 68 Tri County 45
The Vikings played the league leading Coyotes even for a half as they entered the locker room holding a one point edge.
“Then we ran out of steam,” said Coach Matt McCorkle . “Tired legs led to turnovers and missed shots which allowed Reed City to open up a 14 point lead going into the fourth quarter.
“We did not have anything left to make another run and close the gap to single digits. Poor free throw shooting hindered us all night as well. “
The Vikes were just 9 of 20 from the charity stripe
Cam Friend led the Vikings with 15 points while Zac Saez and Anthony Pelton had game high honors with 16 points a piece for Reed City.
The Vikings now stand at 1-7 on the season and 0-3 in conference play.
Lakeview 45 Hesperia 33
The Panthers shorthanded 6 man squad battled their way to a tie at the half but with few substitution options the team finally fell to the visiting Wildcats.
“They gave me everything they had, we just came up short in the second half,” said Coach Bolles.
Leading the Panthers in scoring was senior guard, Jacob Klemundt who knocked down a quartet of triples on his way to a game high 18 points. Logan Balkema proved to be an inside presence for the Panthers a finishing with a dozen rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
With the loss the Panthers fall to 0-7 overall and 0-3 in the CSAA Silver.
Holton 61 White Cloud 31
The Red Devils snapped a 3 game skid with the home win over White Cloud.
Holton is now 2-4 with a 2-1 conference record. White Cloud falls to 1-7 with a 1-2 mark in the Silver.