By Mike Gesler
Photos By Catalpa Photography
Grant 71 Chippewa Hills 52
oach McCorkle was not happy that the last time Grant met Chippewa Hills on the court, the Tigers headed home with a loss. Tonight, Grant had the opportunity to show the Warriors that the Tiger team they faced a month ago was a lot more ferocious than tame. The only difference tonight would be that Grant would have to overcome the absence of senior guard, Tyler Naffziger, who is on a one game team imposed suspension. Naffziger has been a crucial element in not only the Tiger’s scoring effort, but also controlling the boards.
Freshman guard, Frederick Hull, opened up the Tiger’s scoring with a two point field goal which was followed with a three point bucket by sophomore guard, Carter Chase. And that basically became the theme of the first quarter. Of the Tiger’s 18 first quarter points, Hull put in seven and Chase drained nine. But Chippewa Hills’ coach, Eric McArthur, was not about to let this game get away so easy. Some poor defending against Chippewa Hills’ senior, Chad Schafer, by Grant, and some key adjustments by the Warriors brought the first quarter within three points.
Within a minute inside the second quarter, Schafer and his Warriors had managed to take over the lead by one. That’s when junior guard, Conner Vanderwilt, answered back with three points that kick started the Tigers on a nine point run before a foul sent Chippewa Hills to the line. Despite a lot of sloppy play through the second quarter, the Tigers managed to survive thanks to the efforts of Vanderwilt, and went into the half with a narrow lead 35-30. “The first half I wasn’t very pleased with our defensive effort,” stated Coach McCorkle. “I thought we were giving up too many baskets in transition, and even our baseline out-of-bounds defense was not very good. We talked about it before the game what our assignments were. We knew #24 was a shooter, we knew #30 was a shooter, yet we kept leaving #24 open; he kept banging in threes. So I wasn’t very happy with that.”
While these back-and-forth games are great for the fans and are full of drama, they are not a coach’s ultimate dream. The third quarter would be the fan’s quarter. Chippewa Hills managed to keep the game within easy reach even going up with a minute twenty-five left on the clock. Yet, once again, Vanderwilt found himself open outside the arc to help the Tigers regain the lead before the quarter ended with a 45-41 score. As one Tiger spectator said to me, “We have ourselves a game.”
That fan spoke just a little too soon. The fourth quarter was all about the Tigers. Grant went on a ten point run, and then never looked back as they outscored Chippewa Hills by 15 points. Junior forward, Patrick Lancestremere, found himself much of the time in the right spot at the right time, and had a break out quarter both offensively and defensively under the boards. “I thought we did a much better job the second half of making sure we knew our assignments,” added Coach McCorkle. “We had some role player guys step up which was great for them. I’m pleased for Conner and Patrick in the way they stepped up because they work hard just like everybody else, and you hope they have those kind of games.” At the final buzzer, Grant walked away this time victorious with a score of 71-52.
Grant moves to 6-5 in the conference, and 7-9 overall. Leading in scoring tonight were Conner Vanderwilt and Carter Chase both with 19 points. Fredrick Hull finished with 11 points. Also helping in the Tiger’s win were Patrick Lancestremere (9), Cole Chase (6), Alex Longcore (4), and Michael Frey (3). The Tigers will next face the Vikings of Tri County this Friday evening in Grant.