Lion streak ends at 6, Packers keep share of 1st
By Ken DeLaat
Fremont 62 Newaygo 52
It took 3 minutes for the Packers to get on the board in the first quarter.
And it took them 3 minutes in the 4th to build a 2 point lead into 13.
Fremont kept their shared spot atop the Gold standings with a win on the road and halted Newaygo’s 6 game winning streak. A huge group of students and adults followed their team east and provided a strong cheering section to combat the “Jungle” inhabitants who are known to deliver strong vocal support to their Lions.
The hosts scored the first 7 behind a Cooper Heinzman basket, a pair from the line by Mitch Karrip and a three pointer by Karrip before Wyatt Kaastra nailed one from distance, Connor Swinehart scored in the paint then after a Fremont turnover got the ball for two and added a free throw to make it 12-3 Lions.
Enter sharpshooter Bailey Baddis who promptly fired in a triple, the first of 4 he would tally on the night. Defensive workhorse Ben Schmidt grabbed a steal and scored then Baddis hit pay dirt again. Meanwhile Swinehart was battling for points down low and the teams reached the end of one with the Lions holding a 16-14 advantage.
Newaygo pushed the lead to as much as 6 in the second before a late run of “Miller Time” saw Jax Miller score twice, and Calvin Miller adding a basket to pull the Pack in front at intermission 27-26.
The second half began with Logan Karnemaat getting two buckets plus one at the line and Kaastra and Baddis connecting for threes. Swinehart did the Lion scoring to keep pace hitting a quartet of baskets and a twosome from the stripe but Carter Moon’s triple kept the Packers in front by 2 heading into the final frame.
In the 4th the Fremont defense tightened and Newaygo could not get their shots to drop. On the other end Karnemaat connected twice more. The hosts were down 6 with 6 minutes left.
The next 60 seconds saw a Calvin Miller triple, Baddis popping in another from beyond the arc and a huge rejection off a Lion shot by Moon a ball that landed in the hands of Schmidt for 2 points and a sudden 13 point lead. Newaygo’s only points came at the line until a Swinehart basket with less than a minute remaining. The Lions got within 6 but it was too little too late. Forced to foul they sent Kaastra to the line twice and Schmidt once with the teammates going 6-6.
“A hard fought victory,” said Packer Coach Pete Zerfas”I thought our fans were great. Our student section, on the road, was so big it spilled into a second section. Our adult fan base was so large it spanned the entire section from baseline to baseline behind the benches. “That type of support gives us great energy.”
Baddis finished with a team high 14 while Karnemaat notched an even dozen. Ben Schmidt was an absolute demon on defense and tallied 11 with Kaastra also reaching double figures with 10. Calvin Miller (9), Jaxx Miller(4) Carter Moon(3) and Micah Whittle (1) rounded out the offense for Fremont
Swinehart dropped a game high 27 on the visitors while nabbing a dozen boards and Karrip hit for 12. Morgan Manlick scored all of his 6 from the line and Heinzman (4) Jacob Polasek (2) and Noah Cantu (1) also found the stat sheet.
Fremont faces Grant on Tuesday while Newaygo (11-5, 7-6) will square off against Tri County who are still searching for win number one on the season.