Despite its offensive leader spending more time on the bench with his head in a trash can than on the court, White Pigeon’s boys basketball team got a 67-62 win Friday night at Bronson.
Mitchell Moore, who scored 42 points Thursday in a win over Niles Brandywine, sat for nearly 26 minutes due to a stomach bug. Moore headed to the locker room with 1:30 to play in the first half and wasn’t able to log many more minutes after that. He still finished with 14.
It was up to the duo of Dylan Hochstetler (21 points, five rebounds) and Riley Olsen (17 points, four rebounds) to carry the load against a physical Bronson squad.
They delivered, and White Pigeon bumped its season record up to 7-8 overall and 3-2 in the St. Joseph Valley League, pulling into second place behind outright winner Mendon (5-0) with all teams yet to play their final conference game.
“Going into the game we knew Mitch would do whatever he could which ended up not being a lot of minutes,” Olsen said. “We talked to the guys and they all knew they had to each play their best to make up for that missing link. Second half we came out firing and aggressive. Each player played defense like we needed and crashed the boards. Dylan was huge for us tonight. Stepped up and hit so many free throws. That was huge. The whole team wanted the win; we stayed focused and did the right things to get the win. Tonight was great for the team.”
Hochstetler finished 10-for-14 from the foul line and added five rebounds. Mike Crowl led the team with six boards on top of seven points, Olsen also had three assists, David Miller scored six and Jarrett Miller had two points.
Bronson went on a 5-0 run late in the first quarter, but the Chiefs regained a 14-13 lead at the end of the frame. They pushed the advantage to 27-23 to head into the locker room.
The teams traded buckets in a big third quarter and the Vikings held a 45-44 edge going into the fourth.
“Our young men stepped up and challenged themselves and fought hard against a vastly improved, well coached and hard working Bronson team,” White Pigeon coach Tony Cholometes said. “I was extremely proud of our young men as they pulled together and played together when we needed it most.
“For us to play from behind in each of our last two games and find a way to win evidences the strong character developing in this team. I am excited about the positive steps we are taking as a team and as young men.”