Rusty from the holiday break, a Three Rivers boys basketball team that wasn’t at its best still figured out a way to close out a 64-59 victory Tuesday at home against Wolverine Conference foe Allegan.
The Wildcats struggled to make high-percentage shots fall in the first half (11 missed layups) but pieced together a 15-8 first-quarter lead and a 32-27 halftime advantage.
But trailing by a bucket late in the game, it was a defensive stop by Gavin Charvat and transition points that gave Three Rivers a narrow edge again that it would maintain.
“Overall this was a good win for us,” Three Rivers coach Brian Burg said. “I have to give Allegan credit; they play hard inside and outside on the offensive end. Their best player, Zeke Turner, didn’t play because of an injury and that then opened up many opportunities for other players from Allegan to step up.
“I felt the guys on the floor at the end did a great job of finishing the game and taking care of the basketball to finish the game out. The guards off the bench help out tremendous tonight.”
Of that group, Riley Garver contributed seven points, one rebound and a steal. Nolan Mark hit a free throw and Jensin Blyly supplied two points.
“But the key from these guys was the defense play they did,” Burg explained after the team improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Wolverine.
Tirrell Hausmanis led the Wildcats with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, Jalen Heivilin notched 15 points, seven boards and two steals, and Parker Ellifritz came away with 14 points, three rebounds and two steals.
Brenden Brown finished with five points and seven rebounds, and Charvat had four points, three boards and two assists.
Three Rivers shot 34 percent (22-of-65) from the field and 71 percent (17-of-24) from the foul line.
The Wildcats head to league and St. Joseph County rival Sturgis Friday.