BASKETBALL: Despite 20 Points from Belskus, Saline Comes Up Short at Bedford

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 02/08/2020 - 01:38

It has been said that when a man stares into the abyss and sees nothing but darkness, he finds his character, and it is his character that keeps him from falling into the abyss.

That is where the Saline Hornets’ varsity basketball squad finds itself following their third straight SEC Red Division loss Friday night in Bedford. Saline lost to the Kicking Mules 58-50, dropping their season record to 6-6, 2-4 in the SEC Red Division.

And for the second straight game, the Hornet fans, players and coaches walked out of the gym bewildered by the officiating. To be clear, the Hornets had every opportunity to win the game despite the officiating but by the end of the game. The Saline fans who had traveled the wintry roads to Bedford were complaining loudly on their way out the door.

The game featured a first. In the second quarter, an official near the bleachers where Saline fans were sitting, abruptly stopped the game to eject a Saline mom. That’s right. Pointing at the mom, he bellowed, “you’re gone,” pointing to the door.

The mom was sitting one person away from this reporter and I can verify that she was not a screaming, vulgar and out of control mom. It seemed that she understood the rules of basketball better than the official, and sitting in the second row, the official apparently did not enjoy having his mistakes reviewed for others to hear.

Saline jumped out to a 13-6 lead in the first quarter on the strength of senior guard Trevor Arico’s six points and senior forward Tyler Belskus’ three points. The Hornets took a 13-11 lead into the second quarter. 

The Hornets came out misfiring to start the second quarter, allowing the Kicking Mules to go on a 14-2 run, forcing Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick to call a time out. Junior forward Nathan Holmberg came off the bench and sank two three-point shots to cut the lead to 25-21 at the half.

The third quarter featured some timely shooting by Belskus who connected on four three-point shots. Belskus and Arico accounted for all 16 Saline points in the quarter. Bedford took a 42-37 lead into the final eight minutes.

Though Saline increased the intensity of their play on both ends of the court, they were not able to stop the Kicking Mules from scoring.  Senior guard Griffin Yaklich opened the scoring with a driving basket to cut the lead to 42-39 in the first thirty seconds of the quarter.

Belskus was fouled and converted both free throws to narrow the lead to 42-41. That was as close as the Hornets would get.  Yaklich would sink two more baskets, along with another three by Belskus and junior guard Jaden Pickett put up a short shot with 2 seconds left but time ran out on the Hornets, losing 58-50.

“We just couldn’t get any stops tonight,” said Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick.  “We just didn’t have any identity on defense tonight.  We need to play tougher in our defense and especially under the boards.”

The Hornets get back into action when they travel to Ann Arbor Pioneer on Tuesday, Tip-off time is 7 p.m.


1st Star:  Tyler Belskus (20 points, 3 rebounds including 1 offensive rebound)

2nd Star:  Trevor Arico (12 points, 3 offensive rebounds, 1 assist)

3rd Star:  Nathan Holmberg (6 points, including two 3-point shots)


Sophomore guard Evan Merillat sank a jump shot with 6:38 left in the opening quarter to stake Saline to a 4-2 lead.  The Hornets would never trail from that point forward in the game.

Saline JV Head Coach Jason Pickett credited his team’s defense.  “We played really well together tonight.  The guys stuck to the plan.”

“We had some trouble guarding their big guy but did a much better job of guarding him in the second half,” said Pickett.

The team’s defense consistently applied pressure throughout the game, forcing the Kicking Mules into 24 turnovers for the game.  Bedford committed six turnovers in each quarter.

Sophomore guard found his shooting touch in the game connecting on five three-point shots for his team high 21-points.  Sophomore guard Braden LaRusso came off the bench to score 13 points.  With the win the team’s record went to 10-2 on the year.

The JV team travels to Ann Arbor on Tuesday to take on the Pioneers.  Game time is 5:30 p.m.


1st Star:  Evan Merillat (21 points, 1 offensive rebound, 1 assist)

2nd Star:  Braden LaRusso (13 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist)

3rd Star:  Romeo Love (0 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists & tenacious defense)


The freshmen trailed by nine points heading into the fourth quarter and came storming back to send the game into overtime.  In the extra period the Hornets came through with some very clutch play to pull out a dramatic 66-59 victory.

“I asked the guys to play with heart tonight, and that is what they did,” said freshmen Head Coach Kirk Boettcher.

With the win the freshmen’s team record goes to 11-1.  The team will play on the road on Tuesday evening when they take on the Ann Arbor Pioneers.  Tip-off time is 4:00 p.m.


1st Star:  Roman Laurio (31 points)

2nd Star:  Zachary Fidh (18 points)

3rd Star:  Samuel Miller (10 points)


Steven Sheldon's picture
Steven Sheldon