Adams covered a very interesting BCAS vs. USA game Wednesday night. Here is his recap.
SEBEWAING — The team that is going to win the Greater Thumb West has to win on the road.
In 2009, that was true as Bay City All Saints missed out on the title when it lost to Unionville-Sebewaing Area.
Wednesday, the Cougars did something they have never done with Mike Showalter as coach, defeat the Patriots at the USA gym.
“USA is always tough,” said Showalter. “Their kids don’t make that many mistakes and they play hard. That’s what we expected. That’s what makes it big when you win this game.”
BCAS’ 66-65 victory, capped by a free throw with no time left, wasn’t without controversy, though.
With 3:43 remaining in the third quarter, USA head coach Mark Gainforth was whistled for a technical foul. While discussing the reason for the technical, Gainforth was given a second, resulting in his first-ever ejection.
When the dust settled, BCAS made three of the four technical free throws while Drew Janer hit a triple on the ensuing possession.
The Patriots went from up 40-38 to down 44-40.
Another three from Janer extended the lead to 47-40, but USA battled back to get within 53-51 by the end of the quarter.
The Patriots stayed hot to begin the fourth, using a 6-0 run to take a 57-53 lead with 6:23 to play.
“I thought we did a fairly decent job hanging in there,” said USA assistant coach Steve Bohn, who took over on the bench for Gainforth.
“Defensively, we did some things that were fairly decent.”
USA led for most of the fourth quarter, including 65-62 with less than two minutes to play.
That’s when Janer hit his 10th and final triple of the night with Andrew Botello draped all over him to tie the game.
Janer’s three set up the controversial finish.
Neither team could muster any points during the final minute, but BCAS controlled the ball, running the clock down.
After a shot with less than 10 seconds remaining, chaos ensued. Eventually, Botello fouled Nate Sobczak.
The foul wasn’t in question, but when it happened was. Despite the clock reading no time left, Sobczak was given the free throws. He hit the first to seal the victory.
“Bottom line, we didn’t execute at the end,” Bohn said. “Our execution at the end was poor.
“It was a scramble at the end of the game. Many nights it’s not called, tonight it was. I’m not saying it wasn’t a foul, but it was just one of those plays.”
Showalter said he didn’t notice how much time was on the clock when the foul occurred.
“In that situation, you just keep playing and hope the luck is with you,” he said. “Tonight, it was. We did a lot of work before that to get ourselves in position to win.
“My kids played so hard. We’re really not very big and I’m really not sure how good we are, but we just outplay people. Tonight, I thought we did it again.”
Not to be overshadowed was Janer’s performance.
He ended with a season-high 42 points.
“Drew’s the most athletic kid I’ve ever coached,” Showalter said. “He surprises me every day in practice and in games. He’s such a cool customer out there.
“He’s the best player I have ever coached. The other players look for him and they play hard behind him.”
Bohn, a defensive-minded coach, thought his kids did the best they could to try to contain Janer.
“We didn’t have anybody that can stop him,” he said. “Athletically, we don’t have anyone of that caliber that is that quick.
“We thought about going zone, but gosh, he just wasn’t missing.”
Bohn is no stranger to seeing performances like Janer’s, but it’s usually been for USA — with the likes of Jordan Bitzer, Steve Cramer, Brandon Bitzer and other past players.
“We’ve had guys that make those shots,” he said. “And other teams sit there thinking, ‘What are you going to do?’
“We’ve been on the side that makes those shots. Tonight, we were on the side (watching) a guy that’s a really good player and he was in the zone.”
The win improves BCAS to 7-3 overall, 3-1 GTW. Bad Axe’s upset over Vassar on Wednesday means the Cougars actually have a half-game lead in the conference standings.
It’s a place Showalter didn’t expect to be.
“To be honest, I’m surprised where we’re at,” he said. “We’re really not that talented overall, we just work extremely hard.”
Added Bohn: “They lost the league championship last year here. This was the one that cost them the league. They came in here understanding that if they have any chance at winning the league, they have to win here.”
Jake Holland had 21 points to lead USA. Dan Rieck and Botello each added 11 points while Nick Fletcher had 10.
The loss all but takes the Patriots out of contention for the GTW title at 5-5 overall 1-3 league.
“I think we’re better than what we’ve shown, but we don’t win,” Bohn said. “I like our pieces, but...
“Where do we go from here? I have no idea.”
NOTES: By rule, Gainforth will not be able to coach Friday’s game at Reese.
Ubly 84, Mayville 34
UBLY — After being held to a season-low during Friday’s loss to Sandusky, Ubly’s offense exploded against Mayville.
The Bearcats broke out to a 26-9 first-quarter lead and scored 31 more points in the second quarter to lead 57-24 at halftime.
Marshall Leipprandt led four Ubly players in double figures with 18 points. Lenny Nowicki added a season-high 17 points while Bryan White added 11 and Josh White had 10.
Jacob Neighbors paced the Wildcats with 16 points while Timothy McComas added 13 points.
Sandusky 55, Reese 53
SANDUSKY — Sandusky keeps on gaining momentum.
The Redskins picked up a solid Greater Thumb Conference crossover win against Reese.
Sandusky overcame an 11-5 first-quarter deficit to lead 20-16 by halftime.
The Rockets responded to grab a 32-31 lead heading into the final eight minutes, but couldn’t make the lead hold up.
Jordan Coats led the Redskins with a season-high 26 points.
Caleb Gnatkowski had 17 points to lead Reese.
Bad Axe 46, Vassar 44
VASSAR — Bad Axe picked up an impressive GTW road win over Vassar.
The game was tied at 21 at the half, but the Hatchets outscored the Vulcans by one point in the third and fourth quarters.
Ethan Sisco had 20 points to lead the winners while Jesse Quinn added 10 and Jeremy Pawlowski nine.
Vassar had Nathan Greaves with 18 points.
Marlette 53, Brown City 40
MARLETTE — Marlette remained unbeaten in the GTE.
Alex Storm had 13 points, Kyle Hall 12 and Brad Schaub 11 for the Raiders.
"We were able to fend off a solid Brown City squad," said Marlette coach Chris Storm. "We did not shoot to well early and did not guard their perimeter shots in the first half. They were physical and rebounded well."
|USA’s Sean McBrayer (23) tries to make a pass between a pair of BCAS defenders, including Ben Pijaszek (20).|