For 16 minutes of Friday night’s Class C district final at Schoolcraft, Marcellus was able to keep up with Schoolcraft. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, it was the 2nd and 4th quarters that comprised the other 16 minutes of trouble as Schoolcraft’s defense kept Marcellus on their heels as the Eagles pulled away to claim the district title with a 56-37 victory.
From the onset, Schoolcraft sophomore point guard Kobe Clark spearheaded the Eagles’ full court pressure to thwart the Wildcats ability to set up their half court offense.
“He wreaks havoc on defense,” said Schoolcraft coach Randy Small after the game, “We ask a lot of him on both ends of the court.”
While the Eagles’ defense kept Marcellus on their heels, Clark’s ability to move the ball around the perimeter on the offensive end led to quality shots and helped the Eagles jump out to a 8-2 lead midway through the first quarter. However, Marcellus used perfect 4 for 4 free throw shooting to climb back and find themselves down 12-10 with less than a minute to play. With just 10 seconds remaining, Marcellus freshman Andrew Brewer stole the ball away from Clark and drove down the court, making the layup to tie the game at 12 at the end of the first quarter and wake up the entire Wildcat fanbase.
Marcellus used the momentum from Brewer’s layup to jump out to a 19-15 lead just two minutes into the second quarter after a three pointer from senior Eli Robinson, but that three would be the final points the Wildcats would score in the quarter.
While the Wildcats struggled offensively, the Eagles seemed to find their groove, as senior Trenton Lomason found the hot hand and helped Schoolcraft jump out to a 26-19 lead going into halftime.
“Trenton’s shot the ball really well as of late,” said Small, “Six weeks ago, he couldn’t throw it into the ocean, so it has helped to have his shooting touch come back.”
Schoolcraft came out of the locker room after the half and began moving the ball around the perimeter with a precision that was lacking in the first half.
“The ball movement was key in the second half,” said Small, “We were a little stagnant in the first half, so we went in at halftime and emphasized moving the ball in the second.”
That movement led to the Eagles scoring 9 points in the first 2 minutes of the quarter to increase their lead to 35-23, their largest lead in the game to that point. Again, the Wildcats would climb back from the free throw line, hitting 5 of 6 over the next 4 minutes to keep pace with the Eagles. With under a minute to play, Marcellus freshman Gavin Etter and Robinson each hit three pointers on consecutive trips down the floor to close the gap to 39-34 at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter started with the Clark and Lomason show, each hitting three pointers, as well as a pair of layups by Clark and junior Brice Walther to extend their lead to 49-34. While the Eagles had all cylinders firing on the offensive end, it was their defense that completely shut down the Wildcats. Marcellus failed to add any points to the scoreboard until there was only 1:54 remaining in the game when junior Jack Sumners hit a free throw.
With a fifteen point lead, the Eagles began using their precision ball movement to stall on the offensive end, leaving the Wildcats no choice but to start fouling. Stepping to the charity stripe on four separate occasions in the last two minutes, the Eagles went 7 for 8 to score the last of their 56 points. With just :39 remaining in the game, Marcellus senior Dillon Small hit the Wildcats’ only bucket from the floor in the fourth quarter to close the scoring.
“We did a lot of good stuff tonight,” said Coach Small, “We need to play a little smarter as we move on.”
Schoolcraft moves onto Monday’s regional matchup against Kalamazoo Christian, a 35-31 victor over Hackett, at Constantine.
Video by Cole Harrison
Marcellus 12-7-15-3 – 37
Schoolcraft 12-14-13-17 – 56
20/54 FG, 9/16 FT
Trenton Lomason – 17 points, 5 rebounds
Jakob Huysken – 16 points, 4 steals
Kobe Clark – 10 points, 6 assists
Riley Piper – 8 points, 8 rebounds
Brice Walther – 4 points
Chris Cooper – 1 point
2/39 FG, 10/18 FT
Gavin Etter – 10 points
Eli Robinson – 9 points
Kaeler Stafne – 8 points
Jack Sumners – 4 points
Dillon Small – 2 points
Andrew Brewer – 2 points
Brady Ferguson – 2 points