If you’re looking for a silver lining from Saline’s 71-69 overtime loss to Ypsilanti, it’s that the Hornets are no longer a team that looks for silver linings in losses.
Saline much-improved varsity basketball team left the gym angry because they lost a game they should have won.
The Hornets (4-2) were led by Max Recknagel (22 points, 12 rebounds, Reece Dils (17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists) and Caleb Luckett (14 points, four assists). Corey Allen scored 23 points for Ypsilanti. Janeau Joubert added 17 points. Lavonte Davis grabbed 17 rebounds. Jaylen Johnson scored 10 points and grabbed 13 boards.
The Hornets had the lead, 62-61, and the ball with 22 seconds to play. But a turnover put the ball back in Ypsilanti’s hands. Joubert made one of two free throws to tie the game with 15 seconds left. Saline had a chance to win the game but a shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Saline led 67-65 in overtime but a Joubert hit two shots in 24 seconds, including a three pointer to make it 70-67 with 1:24 to play. Recknagel made it 71-69 late in overtime. The Hornets got the ball again late in the extra period but couldn’t even the score.
Coach Eric Williams didn’t want to look at the bright side after the loss.
“I want this loss to sting. I don’t think we played particularly well tonight. We didn’t box out and that cost us. You can’t go up against a team with the kind of height advantage they had and not box out,” Williams said.
Saline and Phoenix traded punches early. Caleb Luckett, Michael Hendrickson and Erik Jacobsen hit three pointers for Saline, who led 17-16 after the first quarter. Allen had nine points in the first quarter for Ypsilanti. Luckett had eight points for Saline in the second quarter, as Saline led 33-29 at the end of the half. The four-point lead was the biggest lead of the game up until that point.
Midway through the third quarter, after a Recknagel shot put the Hornet sup 41-37, Allen got hot for the Phoenix, he hit two three-pointers and another field goal in 60 seconds to tie the game at 45. Late in the third, after a Recknagel basket, Allen hit another three pointer to tie the game at 50.
Ypsilanti led 52-50 going into the fourth and carried that momentum early in the quarter. Down 55-50, Luckett hit another big three-pointer to keep the Hornets close with 6:13 to play. The Hornet defense held the Phoenix at bay. Dils sank two free throws to tie the game at 55 with 4:37 left in the period. Michael Hendrickson sunk a three-point shot with 2:59 to play to give the Hornets the lead. Ypsilanti tied it with a free throw basket by Allen and shot by Jacob Simmons. With two minutes to play, Dils scored two from the stripe to put Saline up 60-58. Ypsilanti’s Jacob Simmons got one point back from the free throw line. Recknagel put Saline up 62-59 with a layup set up by Jacobsen. Over the next 20 seconds, Ypsilanti’s offensive rebounding gave them several chances before Jaylen Johnson scored to make it a one-point game. Saline gave the ball up on its next possession and Ypsilanti sent the game to overtime on a free throw by Joubert.
Though the Hornets lost, it was one of the more entertaining varsity boys’ basketball games played at Saline High School in recent memory. Saline Athletic Director Rob White said he can’t remember Saline ever beating Ypsilanti.