Fremont 55 Grant 50
Story by Mike Gesler
Photos by Catalpa Photography
The Fremont Boys came into tonight’s CSAA Gold Conference match up needing a win in order to stay tied atop the conference with Big Rapids. Grant however needed a win just to stay within a hope of possibly making a second half of the season run at the conference title. The fans came though because, well, it was Fremont-Grant.
Fremont’s junior, Wyatt Kaastra, opened up the game with a three point bucket which ignited the home team crowd. The Packers then built their lead to seven before Grant senior, Michael Frey, finally found the net with three of his own to get the Tigers started.
It was then game on as Grant settled in with aggressive play and winning the battle of the boards. By the time the buzzer sounded for the first half, Grant was up by four leading 22-26.
“I think for thirty minutes that’s as bad as we can play. We just had absolutely no energy what-so-ever,” Fremont’s coach, Pete Zerfas, emphasized. “I think it’s because so many of these games have gone down to the wire. A week ago, Big Rapids going down to the wire, and coming back and finding a way to win. Then with Newaygo having a big lead, down five with twenty seconds to go, and we find a way to win in double overtime. I think mentally it’s just been draining. And we just had no bounce or energy what-so-ever tonight which is tough because it’s hard; you need to have energy against Grant.”
That energy did not come during the third quarter either as Grant continued to stretch out their lead by eight. But, in an homage to Keith Jackson, “Whoa, Nellie,” that energy sparked in the fourth quarter, and it took on a life of its own.
Within two and a half minutes, Fremont brought the game within one. Yet somehow Grant managed to reign control back in, and then went into possession ball with four guards on the floor. With one minute left on the clock, it looked all but over for Fremont. And then Fremont senior, Riley Krim, showed up. If it was a crime to steal the ball, Krim would be locked up for life. Krim had two back-to-back break away steals to move the Packers ahead by one. The Tigers then had no answer, and could not knock down free throws to tie, as the Packers came from behind to seal it, 55-50.
"Oh man, we gave that game away,” stated Grant’s coach, Matthew McCorkle. “They got the job done though. I mean they did what they need to do so we lost and they won, and that is the game of basketball. I got faith in my guys. The bottom line is I believe in my guys, and I have faith in them executing the game plan. That’s what I asked them to do, and they did it. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t work.”
Fremont will next play Tri-County this Friday at Tri-County while Grant will be at home against near north rivals Newaygo. Leading the charge for the Packers was senior, Riley Krim, with a season high 22 points, followed by junior, Logan Karnemaat with 14 points. Also helping with Fremont were Ben Schmidt (8), Wyatt Kaastra (5), Carter Moon (4), and Jaxx Miller (4). The Tigers were led by seniors Tyler Naffziger and Michael Frey with 14 and 12 points respectively. Frederick Hull added 10 to the Tigers effort as well as Alex Longcore (6), Brett Long (5), and Carter and Cole Chase each with one.