Kalamazoo Christian beat Marcellus 48-44 in Monday’s District 79 boys basketball first round game from Schoolcraft.
“Entering the playoffs we were struggling to find any type of rhythm,” said Comets head coach Brennan Davis. “Tonight, at times, we looked great, while other times we looked like we
were playing the first game of the season. Tonight, our team proved they have grown up. Our bench was engaged the entire game.”
It was a fast start for K-Christian, who took a 19-7 lead into the first quarter break. Marcellus answered with an 11-0 run, although the Comets were able to maintain the lead heading into halftime at 25-20.
The action stayed tight in the second half, even as KC locked down Wildcat sharpshooter Gavin Etter. The Comet defense held him to only two points all game, despite a per-game average of more than 20.
“We committed to defending at a high level,” said Davis. “We had some mental lapses on different actions which we must learn from, however the defense played on one of their top players was what we felt as a coaching staff, won the game. (Etter) is a great player, but our team defense was simply better tonight.”
Still, Marcellus was able to get back within one in the final minute of play. A clever inbound play with 20 seconds remaining put the Comets back up by four with the foul. The and-one free throw was missed, but Carson de Jong grabbed the rebound, allowing K-Christian to drain the clock down.
Brandon DeVries led the KC offense with 16 points. Kaeler Stafne matched with 16 for Marcellus. The Wildcats finish at 15-6 and graduate seniors Stafne, Zach Shelton, Carson Sumners, and Gunnar Holston.
Kalamazoo Christian improves to 13-8 and faces Galesburg-Augusta (1-19) in Wednesday’s 5:30 p.m. semifinal from Schoolcraft. On the other end of the bracket, the hosting and unbeaten Eagles (20-0) battle Hackett Catholic Prep (10-10).
Kalamazoo Christian statistics
Brandon DeVries 16 points, 6 rebounds
Chris Terpstra 9 points
Aaron de Jong 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
JJ Manion 7 points
Kyle Hoogenboom 4 points
Jared Scheffers 2 points
Carson de Jong 1 point
Willem de Jong 1 point, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
Kaeler Stafne 16 points, 2 rbounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks
Brady Ferguson 14 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks
Andrew Brewer 4 points
Gavin Etter 2 points
Drake Surach 2 points
Carson Sumners 2 points