Team stays tied in Gold title race
By Ken DeLaat
Call it redemption.
The last loss for the Packers was a smack down in Reed City so when the Coyotes cruised into town they knew it would be a game their hosts wanted badly to win. Though the visitors had dropped two in a row a win Friday night would keep them in the conference race while a loss would move them 3 games back and likely out of contention.
Behind a stellar performance by Logan Karnemaat (18 points, 14 rebounds and 5 block shots) and a crunching defensive clinic led by Ben Schmidt, Riley Krim and a host of Packer players up and down the bench Fremont took care of business the way they've been doing it all season long. By somehow finding a way to close.
The fan base might continue to have their nerves frayed by this group of Cardiac Kids, but say this for them, they know how to entertain.
Reed City ran out to a 14-8 lead after one with triples by Zac Saez and Cody Kailing and the inside scoring presence of Karsten Koopman and Anthony Pelton. For Fremont it was Karnemaat who took passes from Schmidt Krim and Wyatt Kaastra for buckets and Schmidt sinking a pair from the line. The shots weren’t falling from anywhere else and the second quarter proved to be much of the same. Kaastra and Carter Moon scored on breakaways but the rest of the scoring was from the free throw line. The defense held their ground however and after Saez hit another from a distance it looked like a 4 point halftime edge until Micah Whittle nailed a shot at the buzzer to make it a 21-19 score at intermission.The second half began with a Karnemaat basket then after RC split at the line Schmidt fired a pass to Calvin Miller who gave the Packers their first lead at 23-22. The lead proved short lived as the Coyotes pounded the ball into Koopman who used his moves around the basket to stake a 7 point lead before Moon tripled in front of another Koopman bucket.
6 points down heading into the final frame Karnemaat scored and converted the foul shot to make it a 3 point game then he grabbed a board and rifled a pass to a streaking Krim who dropped it in. Another stop and this time it was Krim finding Kaastra who gave the Packers the lead..Fremont would tally another 5 points before the Yotes got back on the board with 2 minutes left.
Reed City fought back with a Pelton jumper and a Kailing three pointer off a steal of an inbounds pass to tie it at 41. Karnemaat scored to make it a 2 point came and Krim followed with a steal but Reed City got the ball back.
Down 2 with just 2 seconds on the clock the Reed City player was fouled when attempting a three pointer and went to the line with a chance to tie or even take the lead With a student section roaring at a level conducive to a noise ordinance violation the Coyote player missed the first. Unbelievably, the crowd got even louder and when he missed the second the place erupted. A purposeful miss on his final attempt was batted about and finally scooped up by the Packers who had the ball, the game, and a little payback for the mid month meltdown in December.
“We talked at halftime that if we want to be a league champion, we have to continue to find ways to win close games even when we are not at our best or shooting very well,” said Coach Zerfas. “ Our boys continue to find a way when down and I couldn't be prouder of their grit and determination.
“We have to continue to take them one game at a time and the next one is a big one. We do not play Tuesday so we will use the week to get healthy and be mentally and physically ready for our road game at Big Rapids Friday.”
The Cardinals share the top spot in the Gold with tFremont and have but one loss on the season.
To the Packers.