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Thursday, February 17, 2011

USA clips Red Hawks

Adams covered the makeup game between USA and Cass City on Wednesday night.
Here's his report...

SEBEWAING — This week was supposed to be moving week for Cass City.
Unfortunately for the Red Hawks, they’re moving in the wrong direction.
They began Monday tied with Bay City All Saints for the top spot in the Greater Thumb West. Following Wednesday’s 50-36 loss to Unionville-Sebewaing Area, they’re two games back.
Monday, they dropped a 56-44 decision to Reese. 
“Going on the road to Reese and USA is tough for anyone in this league,” said Cass City coach Jim Green. “We were in both games. Tonight, I just thought USA elevated their game and executed well.”
After trailing 28-21 at the break, the Red Hawks cut the deficit to just 32-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Still trailing by four points two minutes into the fourth, Sean McBrayer hit back-to-back threes and Cass City never recovered.
“I really thought those two threes turned around the game around for us,” said USA coach Mark Gainforth. 
Although Green praised USA’s effort, Gainforth thought it could have been better.
“There’s just too many spaces in the game that we have runs of turnovers,” he said. “It’s not the effort from game to game, it’s the game within the game. 
“It’s consistency within the game.”
Cass City led 13-10 after the first quarter, but Jake Holland helped USA recapture the lead for good, scoring eight of his game-high 22 points in the second.
“He played his best game tonight,” Gainforth said. “In the first half, he really took over our offense because we were really struggling.”
Added Green: “Holland really came through for them tonight. He was consistent throughout the game and we really didn’t have a good answer for him.”
McBrayer added nine points for the Patriots while Andrew Botello had eight points.
Alex Varney came through with 19 points to lead the Red Hawks while Cameron Dunnuck added 13.
USA ended the night with a 36-22 rebounding edge. 
“There’s no way you’re going to win at USA getting dominated on the glass like that,” Green said. 
In the third quarter, Botello tweaked an ankle. He left the game and the bench to get treatment, but quickly returned to contribute to the win.
“Andrew Botello, for being the shortest guy out there, was probably our leading rebounder,” Gainforth said. “Every time I looked, he was down there digging for the ball.
“That’s the good thing about guys like Andrew... Something doesn’t go right with one part of their game, they find another way to contribute.”
Cass City returns home Friday night, trying to salvage the week and bring BCAS back to the pack.
The Red Hawks will have the support of the other teams in the GTW, including USA, which still has another game with the Cougars.
“I just look at the parity we have in our league — somebody has to knock off All Saints eventually,” Gainforth said. “More than any other year, you have to be ready to play because most teams aren’t good enough to just roll the ball out and be ready to go.
“We would need help, but Reese is there, Cass City is there, Vassar is there. We’re big Cass City fans on Friday night.”
In the first meeting, BCAS defeated Cass City 81-63.
“We have to come through with a better effort Friday night,” Green said. “It was about effort tonight. We just have to feed off the fact that it’s time to get a win. We’re at home, we have to get a good win and All Saints would be that. But we have to bring a much better effort Friday night.”
“All Saints is in first place for a reason. They have an outstanding team, it’s not the Drew Janer Show, they have a solid team. They’re very good defensively, too.”

USA’s Jake Holland (24) is fouled by Cass City’s Cole Israelson during the first half of the Patriots’ 50-36 win on Wednesday night in Sebewaing. 

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