Story and photos by Mike Gesler
Fremont 93 Grant 70
The gym in the Grant Middle School was a packed house in this much anticipated, opening round of district play, rubber match of the Grant Tigers and Fremont Packers. Last week, the Tigers swiped a share of the conference title for themselves and away from the Packers. The Packers, for their part, felt they didn’t put their best foot forward, and were looking to kill any hope the Tigers may have had at a district title to add to their season. With the energy and drama cranked all away up to ten, a showdown percolating, the opening tipoff couldn’t come soon enough.
The first half of play was everything this game billed itself out to be. “In the game last week, we didn’t necessarily have very good spacing or patience and we scored seventy-seven. We looked at that on film, and I thought if we space the floor better, ran our sets, that we talked before we might put up eighty-five or ninety if we were able to play with spacing. And it happened,” stated Fremont’s coach, Peter Zerfas.
Fremont came out hot, mainly due to three 3s put up by Joshua Zerfas, and went up fifteen points to Grant’s four. But Grant didn’t hit the panic button, and continued to play their game. With a boost from Gage Burrows, who shot five 3s, Grant pulled within two by the end of the half. And even though Fremont went into the locker room with a 45-43 lead, this game felt like it would go down to the final buzzer.
The second half however was solely Fremont’s alone. The Tigers went colder than a block of ice sitting on a frozen pond. “The second half felt like it got away when we had empty offensive trips in the third, and then it was kind of a runaway train. We just tried to do a little bit of desperation shoot and foul, and that didn’t work either,” stated Grant’s coach, Joel Schuitema. With 2:35 left in the game and Grant down by twenty-two, Schuitema finally threw in the towel, pulled his starters, and both coaches allowed their bench personnel to finish the game as the Tiger faithful sat in stunned silence and the Packer fans roared.
“Carter Moon played tremendous on Seth Schuitema. He’s such a good player, and Carter really brought it defensively,” shared Coach Zerfas. “Chris [Kennedy] did too on Carter Chase. I’m a little biased, but I thought my son [Joshua Zerfas] had a pretty good game just getting us off to a good start with those three 3s. And it was really all five of us because Tristin [Campbell] in the post every time they took Rose off of him just did really well. I don’t know how many Braiden [McDonald] had, but he had to have twenty or more. So it was a really good team effort I thought.”
“Hats off to Pete and the Fremont Packers,” shared Coach Schuitema. “Good luck to them in the district. Our kids are sad right now, and so am I.”
Braiden McDonald led tonight for the Packers with twenty-nine points. Tristan Campbell nearly matched McDonald with twenty-eight. Joshua Zerfas also put up double digits with fifteen. Adding to Fremont’s effort was Carter Moon (8), Jacob Visser (6), Martin Curiel (3), and Lane Converse with two.
Gage Burrows led for the Tigers tonight with twenty-one. Seth Schuitema and Carter Chase also had double digits with fourteen and ten respectively. Also helping in Grant’s efforts was Diesel Rose (9), Cole Lesley (8), Elliot Butchart and Eli Bradley each with three, and Jed Vanderweide with two.
Fremont will next take on Coopersville on Wednesday evening at the Grant Middle School gym for the 5:30 district game.