Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Kent City 61 Grant 51
After two very close games last week against Whitehall and Big Rapids, the Grant Tigers came into tonight’s game against the Kent City Eagles with their hopes set on walking away with their first win of this season. The Eagles, however, had no plans of blemishing their 2-0 start, and were not so ready to become fodder for the win hungry Tigers. And while the two towns might normally be hospitable neighbors, Kent City was not in a generous mood this evening.
To say things went from bad to worse for the Tigers might be an understatement. And while the final score may not reflect such a callous report, a look into the second quarter says just about everything one might need to know about the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Tigers were only down by two to Kent City’s 13 points. Nevertheless, the Tigers were already starting to show signs that their play was going south.
Freshman forward, Brett Long, was already on the bench with foul trouble, and sophomore guard, Carter Chase, was finding himself flocked and unable to find the glass by the ravenous Eagles. The Tigers then went cold only netting five second quarter points to Kent City’s 20. The fouls began to rack up as did the turnovers. Inside the paint, the Tiger forwards could not get a rebound. By the end of the first half, the Eagles were deflating Grant’s hope with a lead of 30 to 16.
“[I’m] extremely disappointed with the boys,” Grant’s coach, Matthew McCorkle, stated with frustration. “Turnovers were a big theme. That’s three straight games where we turned the ball over every other possession we have. We still don’t box out well on the glass. And that’s probably the game right there; turnovers and rebounds.”
The second half fared better for the Tigers, as Coach McCorkle switched things up by electing to go with four guards and one forward rather than his starting three guards and two forwards. And while the Tigers were able to bring the game within seven points at one point in the fourth quarter, the costly mistakes of the second quarter would be too much for the Tiger’s to claw their way back from. At the final buzzer, Kent City took their third straight win and handed the Tigers another loss 61-51.
Senior guard, Tyler Naffziger, led the Tiger’s effort with 20 points, followed by freshman forward, Brett Long, with eight points. Carter Chase and Fredrick Hull each had seven points for the night. Also contributing were Alex Longcore with four points, Michael Frey with three, and Conner Vanderwilt and Karlton Zerlaut each with one point. The Tigers next visit Central Montcalm this Friday starting at 7:30.