Whatever you make of Jake Fosdick's Hornet basketball team, they're great entertainment. The kids go full throttle and it's hard not to appreciate that.
An interesting sequence happened Friday night. Emmett Turner was dominant at times. Saline started the second half playing tough defense. Over the first 4:30 of the quarter, Saline had outscored Pioneer 5-0 to take a four point lead. Offensively, the Hornets weren't doing much. But they had completely shut down the Pioneer attack.
And then Turner got whistled for a couple of fouls and he came out.
Suddenly, Pioneer goes on a 9-0 run.
A reporter is always thinking about the narrative. And there it was, starting me right in the face. Saline was falling to pieces without their senior leader.
But then something happened. Griffin Yaklich ended the third quarter with a basket.
The fourth quarter started with Turner still on the bench. And the young Hornets climbed right back into the game. Yaklich and Erik Wenning hit some big shots. Connor Terech, Ryan Koch and Adam Heisler played great defense and made sure Pioneer didn't get second and third opportunities.
The team was figuring out how to play with their senior leader. They cut Pioneer's lead and then took the lead when Turner re-entered the game and scored.
It seemed like Saline might pull out the game. But then Turner fouled out with 1:41 to play.
Saline still had its chances to win the game. But Pioneer forced overtime. You could sense it was going to be a tall order to win without Turner and Pioneer won the game.
So, yeah, Emmett Turner was the best player on the floor Friday. Better even than Drew Lowder, Pioneer's star who's getting Division 1 college offers. Saline isn't quite ready to beat good teams when their best player misses half the game in foul trouble. But they're getting closer.
- Before the season started, Coach Leigh Ann Roehm told me that freshman Ella Stemmer was the real deal. No kidding. Not since Amanda Zylstra has a Hornet scored like Stemmer - and Stemmer is doing it as a freshman. Looking forward to watching her star for the Hornets for the next four years.
- The Saline ice hockey team is undefeated. The top line of Alex Birkle, Logan Dejanovich and Gordie Niethammer is nearly unstoppable. Brendan Murphy leads a defense that looks way too good for a unit that lost so many great seniors.
- Last week's snow day cost me the chance to see bowling and gymnastics. Great to see the competitive cheer team taking first place at Dexter.