Pioneers back in BWAC title hunt
Some stifling, team defensive work and a stellar effort from point guard Robert Donnan paved the way in the Pioneers' convincing, 62- 45, mauling of the Yale Bulldogs.
With that victory, and Richmond's loss to Imlay City, Cros-Lex moved back to within a game of the lead in the BWAC boys hoops title chase. Richmond still is on top at 7-1, but Cros-Lex is now right behind at 6-2 and visits the Blue Devils this Friday night in a battle for the potential outright lead.
Coach Mike Kennealy, in his first season as Pioneer head coach, said his team is ready for the difficult, road-game, challenge.
"I think you always want to put yourself/team in these situations. You work all season to be able to control your own fate," Kennealy remarked. "Richmond is a tough and well disciplined team. In order to be successful against a team like theirs is to be able to make minimum mistakes and match their intensity."
At Yale on Friday evening, the Pioneers (10-3 on the season) were ready from the start on both ends of the court. Donnan, a 5'8" senior, directed the offense that produced a 16-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. He was also a factor on defense, helping to slow down the Bulldogs' Cody Edgerton, considered by many as the top player in the Blue Water Area. Edgerton scored Yale's first points of the night, but only added six more the rest of the game.
Later on, with his team on top by six, 36-30, Donnan led a fourth quarter charge by scoring eight points and dishing off on more in a 26-point, final eight minutes
"Robert Donnan, who has been a reader all year, played his best game. He led us on both ends of the court," praised C-L coach Mike Kennealy. "I feel he has been an underrated player all year. He directs traffic and handles the ball very well."
While Donnan finished with 16 points, and several assists, senior guard/forward Nathan Guitar also knocked down 16 , including three triples. His pair of threes, and another by Donnan, spurred the first quarter lead that the Pioneers never relinquished.
"(He's) one of the best basketball players in area. He does everything well," said Kennealy. "When Yale made their run, he made some key baskets to stop their momentum."
Control of the game, though, was really set early by the entire Pioneer defense. C-L only scored seven points in the second quarter, but the Bulldogs, now 5-3 in the BWAC and 10-3 overall, only managed 14 points for the half.
Kennealy added, "Trevor Sheridan (junior guard) set the tone early, defensively, and the rest of the players fed off his energy."
After Guitar opened the second half with his third triple to put C-L up by 11, 25-14, Yale never drew closer than six the rest of the way.
Junior Anwar Childers added nine points and four steals for the Pioneers.
The only player to score in double figures for the Bulldogs was Corey Smykowski, who finished with 15 points.
Cros-Lex 56 Armada 30
In BWAC play last Tuesday, the Pioneers held the Tigers to just five points in the first half.
Kennealy praised the defensive effort of junior guard Kyle Kasper, who came off the bench.
"Kyle came up big, defensively, to ignite us. I felt when Kyle came in he changed the tempo of the game," remarked Kennealy.
Hunter Grace led Cros-Lex in scoring with 12 points. Childers and Guitar each added seven.
’Skins edge BC in overtime
SANDUSKY - The Sandusky Redskins took a hard-fought victory in GTC East play on Wednesday night when they held off Brown City, 51-49, in two overtimes.
The Redskins found ways to avoid a tough loss. After a 35-35 tie through four quarters, the Green Devils went up by three when Alex Bartle sank a pair of free throws with seven seconds remaining. The Redskins' Gage Frank, though, hit a triple at the buzzer to send it to one more overtime.
In that extra period, the Devils missed a pair free throws late and also turned the ball over, leading to Sandusky sinking two free throws for a four-point lead with time running out.
For the night, the Redskins were led by Chase Bullis with 16, six rebounds and five steals. Frank, with 12 points, and Matt Grosso, with 11, were next in scoring.
"BC played very tough and would not go away. They kept themselves in the game," commented Tristin Pennington, Sandusky coach.
The Devils (2-3, 4-10) had a game-high 18 points from Bartle and 12 points from Ryan Spokaeski.
Ubly 50 Sandusky 40: In the GTC East loss to the Bearcats on Friday night, sophomore Dalton Okie turned in a strong effort, finishing with 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
"Dalton Okie had his first career double-double," said Pennington. "That was Dalton's best game of the season. He continues to work hard and is improving every day."
Sandusky, now 2-3 in the East and 4-10 overall, also had 12 points from Bullis and 11 points and six rebounds from Frank.
Pirates coast by Caseville
PECK - The Peck Pirates, leaders in the NCTL Stripes Division, built up a comfortable halftime lead Friday night and coasted in with a, 52-43, victory over Caseville.
The Pirates are now 8-1 in the Stripes and 9-4 overall. With some help from County rival CPS, Peck now has a two-game cushion over North Huron in the division race. CPS, earlier in the week, socked the Warriors, 65-45.
In Friday's win over the Eagles, the Pirates led 29-14 at halftime. Caseville, though, kept the game from being a runaway in the second half.
Coach Jeremy Abrego of the Pirates explained," It was the Snowball..... and kids were not focused in the second half. Also, a lot of kids that don't normally play much got to play a lot in the second half."
Junior forward Kyle Abrego had a strong double-double for the Pirates with 19 points and 13 boards. Tristen Haener and Tyler Beurmann both added 10 points and Cody Abrego had seven points and six assists.
Davis, Tigers warm-up at home
SANILAC TOWNSHIP - When the CPS Tigers hosted Deckerville on January 22, it marked their first home contest in 35 days.
The schedule finally has gotten a little kinder. Not only have the Tigers won three in a row, senior guard Ryan Davis is starting warm up.
That combination helped CPS to its second and third straight victories last week, including a 74-35 whipping of Port Hope on Friday night.
Davis, a 5'8" guard who came off the bench a year ago to provide a big spark, has started at the point all this season and is just starting to find a groove.
In Friday's win over the Bluestars, he finished with 15 points (five three-pointers) and added seven assists and eight steals.
"He's playing a lot better," said CPS coach Cliff Amey. He added, "And, I'm probably getting a little smarter in getting him involved early. The more of a weapon he becomes, the better we're going to be."
The Tigers, 8-1 in the NCTL Stars and 11-3 overall, also enjoyed having four players score in double figures against Port Hope. Matt Falls and Connor Amey each gunned in 16 points and junior guard Danny Rickett added 13. Amey and Falls both had eight rebounds.
CPS 65 North Huron 45: In a game moved from Tuesday night to Wednesday last week because of the weather, the Tigers took command in the second half after holding a four-point lead at the break.
Davis started his week with an 11-point, sixrebound, six-assist game against the Warriors. Falls led all scorers with 23 points and Amey was next with 15. Falls and Amey, again, had eight boards apiece.
Strong effort falls short for Eagles
DECKERVILLE - The Deckerville Eagles turned in one of their best offensive performances of the season Friday night but it was not quite enough to catch North Huron.. The Warriors handed the Eagles a, 67-59, setback in NCTL crossover play.
While North Huron went to 8-3 in the Stripes Division, and 9-5 overall, the Eagles slipped to 3-5 in the Stars and 3-9 on the season.
Deckerville led, 17-15, after one quarter, but North Huron retaliated with a big second period, which proved to be the difference. The Warriors led by 12, 37-25, at the break and then fended off a comeback bid by the Eagles.
For the first time this season, Deckerville had three players score in double figures. Trevor Philpot led the way with 14 points while Nick Pagel and Nathan Spaetzel tossed in 12 and 11 points, respectively. Spaetzel also pulled down 11 rebounds.
North Huron's Dustin Siemen led all scorers with 20 points.