Comstock Park District
Grant 59 Newaygo 56
What could be a better way to begin the Boys tournament season than with one of those classic Newaygo/Grant matchups?
Nothing although when one of N3 sports writers fails to pay enough attention to see the game has an earlier than the usual 5:30pm start and arrives well into the second quarter…
Editor Mercer who had been there patiently waiting, camera in hand, is thankfully a forgiving type and told said reporter “Well, at least it’s tied so…
The Tigers and Lions went back and forth with the lead but Grant pushed ahead 28-24 by intermission behind a 13 point performance by Seth Schuitema. On the Lion side Ashton Stephens, Josiah Long and Wyatt Mortensen each had 5 and Bryce Decker was holding his own in the paint against a determined Tiger front court.
When the second half began Mortensen shoveled a pass to an open Decker, scored off a steal and drained a pair from the stripe to pull with in a point but Cole Lesley muscled in a shot, Orion Evans sank a putback after a miss and Schuitema ripped one from the wing and the lead was stretched to 7.
But the Lions weren’t done.
Decker kept them close with a pair of buckets that sandwiched a pair from the line by Mortensen then after a Schuitema basket, Hudson Harkness and Mortensen hit back to back scores to once again pull the Lions within a point entering the final frame.
It was the closest they would be as an 8 point run at the start of the quarter put Grant in the driver’s seat and forced Newaygo to send Tigers to the free throw line.
With the Tigers clearly having the game in hand and little more than a minute on the clock Ashton Stephens put a scare into the Grant crowd when he lasered in a pair of triples, one off a steal and in between Mortensen scored a 2 also off a steal.
But by the time the second Stephens triple hit the nets less than a second was left on the clock and the Tigers would be moving on to face Coopersville Thursday at 5pm.
Coach Schuitema``Well it was the kind of game you’d expect out of Grant and Newaygo and the kind of game you’d expect in a district game. I feel like we did our job to close out with a win. It got a little tighter than I like but that's ok. Newaygo competes. They keep competing and we knew that. They have a lot of energy, they’re athletic and we wanted to match that because last time at Newaygo we didn’t match up and it was disappointing. We wanted to make up for that and I think we did that tonight.
“I’m proud of our guys.”
Schuitema finished with a game high 25 points while Evans and Lesley dropped in a dozen apiece.
Mortensen fired in 19, Decker ripped down 10 boards to go with his 14 points, and Stephens wrapped up his Lion career with 11.
Mortensen Harkness and Hayden Mackenna also wore the Lion basketball uni for the final time.