By Mike Gesler
Photos By Catalpa Photography
Grant 85 Tri County 58
When you think of rivalries, you think of Grant/Newaygo or Grant/Fremont. Tri County is like the middle child; forgotten about unless they make some noise and act up. Nonetheless, Tri County came into Grant for a CSAA Gold Conference rivalry looking to capture their first win of the season. The last time these two teams met was on Tri County’s court, and Grant handed an 82-53 defeat to the Vikings.
“They’re a scrappy bunch. They get excited to play us. There is a bit of a rivalry there. I don’t know, you expect games like that,” shared Grant’s Coach McCorkle. “All of these boys at Tri County have never beat a Grant team so it’s one of those things where we step on the floor and we’re already down in our minds,” stated Tri County’s Coach Delamater. “It’s a battle you’ve got to get through.”
And with the Tiger’s only playing with eight men tonight as both freshman forward, Brett Long, and senior forward, Alex Longcore, were out of the lineup recovering, this may be the battle that Tri County has long awaited to break through.
It would be two minutes into the first quarter before either team found the net, and it would be Tri County to find it first. However, the Vikings only lead for the night would quickly get squashed as Grant’s Michael Frey returned the favor with a three point shot. From that point on, the Tigers never looked back as the first quarter ended with a Tiger lead of 26-14.
While the Vikings were able to double their score in the second quarter, and slow down the Tiger attack, it would not be enough to put the game within reach. Twenty-four of the Tiger’s 43 first half points would come off of threes. It was also the only quarter in which the Tigers would not score twenty or more points.
With Grant’s freshmen guard, Freddy Hull, in foul trouble at the start of the third quarter, Tri County came out offensively attacking Hull hard. It would take just over two minutes before the Vikings succeeded in drawing a foul from Hull, and taking Grant from eight men down to seven. This opened up Tri County’s junior, Bryce Hallman, who became a one man scoring machine for the Vikings, and brought the game within single digits before Grant was able to adjust. However once adjusted, Grant took back control. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Grant handed another defeat to Tri County with a final score of 85-58. “I thought we battled hard; we played hard. We cut it down to I want to say single digits, or close to that, in the third,” stated Coach Delamater. “We just couldn’t sustain what we needed to to keep that going.”
“I’m happy we won,” expressed Coach McCorkle. “I thought with only eight guys again cause [sic] Alex has a foot injury at the moment, we got some nice contributions from some other guys. Conner Vanderwilt played himself a nice game again. Tyler Naffziger was outstanding especially with Freddy getting in foul trouble early. We did what we had to do. Not the sexiest win.”
The Tigers scoring was led by Naffziger with 23, followed by 20 points to Carter Chase. Conner Vanderwilt also put up double digits with 15. Frederick Hull and Michael Frey each had nine. Cole Chase added seven, and Patrick Lancestremere scored two. The Tigers next game is at home on Tuesday night against Fremont as they move to 7-5 in the conference and 8-9 overall.
Brice Hallman led the Viking’s effort with 32 of their 58 points. Chase Jelinski and Cameren Friend had seven and six respectively. Both Collin Kirkwood and Nicolas Poprawski shot four as Wil McClurken and Charles Hornack each sot two. Macario Castillo also added to the Viking effort with one point. Tri County will be at home for their next game on Tuesday night against Newaygo. The Vikings fall to 0-12 in the conference and 0-16 overall.