“The best revenge is massive success.”
– Frank Sinatra
HARBOR BEACH — While it won’t heal the still-smoldering wound of losing out on a conference championship, Harbor Beach made sure this time Sandusky didn’t spoil its early quest at post-season glory.
The Pirates, whose loss to the Redskins last Thursday cost them a share of the Greater Thumb East title, went to work early in the opening round of the Class C district tournament. The defending champions put down the defensive clamps in the first half here Monday night en route to a comfortable 51-32 decision over the Redskins.
The 15-5 Pirates move on to Wednesday’s district semifinal matchup against GTE rival Ubly, which beat Cass City in another district opener.
Here Monday night, Harbor Beach stormed out to a 17-5 advantage after one quarter, putting every starter in the scorebook. From there, the Harbor Beach defense came on, pitching a second-quarter shutout, good for a 26-5 halftime bulge.
“I think the effort was there Thursday, but I think we might have clutched up just a bit in that game,” said Harbor Beach coach Ron Wruble. “Tonight, we came out and we actually could have led by at least 10 more points at the half. We missed some easy shots in the middle (in the second quarter).”
No matter, the Pirates were never really threatened by the Redskins, who were ice cold from the floor for the better part of three quarters. By the time their three-point shooters found their range, Harbor Beach had all but put the game away.
The Pirates’ lead was never less than 13 in the second half.
“I was a little concerned about our emotional state coming into tonight,” Wruble admitted. “They answered that question in the first minute of the game.”
Seniors Scott Grekowicz and Sean Sorenson provided the early spark for the Pirates. After being held to a combined four points in Thursday’s loss, the duo surpassed that number in the first few seconds.
Grekowicz wound up with a game-high 12 points, including a perfect 5-of-5 from the foul line, while Sorenson added nine points.
“Those two did a really nice job,” Wruble said. “In the practices since Thursday, we have been pretty upbeat, and those guys are the reason. They grabbed the bull by the horns and showed some nice leadership.”
Eli Kraft added 11 points for the Pirates while Andrew Siemen chipped in nine.
For Sandusky, Jordan Coats had 10 points while Kory McGuire netted nine. That twosome combined for six second-half three-pointers, though by that time Harbor Beach’s damage had been done.
McGuire nailed his three three-pointers in the third quarter, pulling the Redskins to within 37-18. Coats drained his three threes in the fourth quarter, getting the Redskins to within 45-32 with 2:20 to play.
Harbor Beach, though, hit on 8-of-11 free throws in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. The Pirates were a nifty 14-of-16 from the stripe overall.
The Redskins finish 13-8.
|Harbor Beach’s Jordan Booms hauls down a rebound for the Pirates in the opening half on Monday night.|
|Harbor Beach’s Aaron Ginther battles Sandusky’s Chase Baysdell.|