Basketball: Hornet Defense Smothers Trojans

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 12/19/2016 - 22:30
Ryan Foley helped the Hornets hold Monroe to under 30 points. Saline has held their opponents to under 30 points three straight games.

Finkbeiner on Offense, Foley on Defense, Saline's 1-2 Combo Knocks Out Monroe


For the third straight game, the Saline Hornets varsity hoops team held their opponent to under 30 points, crushing the Monroe Trojans 59-26 Friday night at Saline High School. Last year's "Man Of Steel" Matt Rosati took time off from his studies at Michigan State University to cheer on his former teammates. After the game Rosati was asked what he thought of this year's team and he responded Tthey're good. Finkbeiner is a beast." Rosati also reported that his transition from blue and gold to green and white has gone smoothly.


Both teams started the game playing sloppily, missing open shots. The Hornets missed eight lay-ups in the first half. At one point, Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick said while watching his team miss another lay-up, “This is worse than going to see the dentist.” A bright spot out of an otherwise dismal first quarter was the Hornets out-rebounded the Trojans 11-3. Mercifully, the quarter ended with the Hornets leading, 4-2.


Whatever Coach Fosdick said prior to the start of the second quarter ignited a fire in his team, led by senior guard Jacob Finkbeiner who scored 8 points, leading his team to an 18-10 lead at the half, including hitting a three-point shot with 2:24 left in the quarter. Senior guard Ryan Foley forced Monroe into a turnover, feeding a pass to Finkbeiner who drove to the basket drawing a foul. In the end, it was the only way the Trojans could try to contain the Hornets, clutching and grabbing. 


While the incoming administration is finishing putting together his cabinet to begin a new presidential term in Washington DC, Foley is most assuredly the Defense Secretary for the Saline Hornets basketball team. Former NHL star Wayne Gretzky once provided young hockey players with some advice:

“If you want to be good, don’t go to where the puck is, go to where it is going to be.”

Foley does that on the basketball court game after game. He is tenacious. He plays with an intense focus that becomes infectious on his team. He has heart. Finkbeiner and Foley put on a show for the Saline faithful in the third quarter. It may have been the best quarter of basketball the team has played this year.


Finkbeiner led the third quarter onslaught by scoring 11 points, senior forward Emmett Turner and Justin Zylstra and Foley also contributed points. Finkbeiner opened the scoring by driving to the basket for a contested lay-up. Turner turned an offensive rebound into two more points. The smothering Hornet defense made every point Monroe scored tough, taking precious time off the clock. Foley put the exclamation point on the quarter by taking a pass from Turner, racing down the court and sinking a shot from the free throw line with under a second left in the quarter. When the horn sounded to bring the third quarter to an end, the Hornets had outscored Monroe 21-7, taking a 43-19 lead into the final quarter.


The team focused on their defense in the fourth quarter, taking pride in making Monroe work for every point. Coach Fosdick substituted freely and each sub played defense just as hard as the starting five. Senior guard Nate Gresser did an excellent job handling the ball in the final minutes, while junior guard Erik Wenning and sophomore forward Connor Terech carried the play on defense. With two minutes left in the game, Gresser took a pass from senior guard Sean Millspaugh, raced the length of the floor, sank a lay-up and made his free throw after being fouled. The smile on the young man’s face, and the roar of his teammates and the crowd, told the story. As the final seconds counted down, the Hornets had outscored the Trojans 16-7 in the fourth quarter, to walk off with a hard-fought 59-26 win.


Following the game, Coach Fosdick said he was proud of his team. Proud of their effort and their never give up attitude.

“We got great looks at the basket tonight but didn’t make shots to start the game. We will continue to work on that because you have to make those shots if you want to compete against teams in the SEC,” he said.

Fosdick went on to praise his two senior guards Foley and Finkbeiner.

“What can you say about those two? There are great guards in the SEC but I will take my two over any of them. Finkbeiner takes charge in the offense, Foley takes charge in our defense. Together, they are unstoppable,” Fosdick said.

With the win, Saline upped its record to 3-1 on the year, 2-0 in the SEC.

The Hornets get back into action Tuesday night in Bedford in another SEC match-up. Tip off time is 7pm.


1st Star: Jacob Finkbeiner (20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists)

2nd Star: Ryan Foley (8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists & countless steals)

3rd Star: Emmett Turner (9 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist)


The Monroe Trojans JV squad opened the scoring fifteen seconds into the game. The next time the Trojans scored came with twelve seconds left in the quarter. In between, the Hornets rattled off 21 straight points. Freshman guard Trevor Arico opened the scoring for Saline with 6:31 left in the quarter, opening up a scoring onslaught that overwhelmed Monroe. Every player on the floor got into the scoring, Sophomore guard Peter Jacobsen took an inbound pass to score a layup. Arico was fouled on a three point attempt and then sank all three free throws. Sophomore forward Ryan Grill and Ethan Freidrichsen along with sophomore guard Ben Schmidt all added points. After the carnage was over, the first quarter was over with the Hornets leading 23-4.

Saline JV Head Coach Jason Pickett substituted freely in the second quarter but it didn’t change a thing. Sophomore center Brad Wisniewski came off the bench and took a pass from sophomore Win Walker to score an easy two points. Sophomore guard Nate Learman grabbed a rebound and added another two points. Sophomore guard Brenden Munday finished off the scoring by taking a Learman pass, driving the lane and making the layup while drawing a foul. In the end, the Hornets outscored Monroe in the second quarter 16-8, taking a 39-12 lead into the locker room.

At the start of the second half, Grill hit a short jumper and Arico buried a three to up the Hornet lead to 44-12. Then the team started to coast. After committing two straight turnovers, Coach PIckett called a timeout. Picket said, “with a big lead it is hard to get kids to maintain their focus and effort. We scored five points right away and then relaxed. That’s when bad things start to happen. After the timeout, the team got going again.” Saline outscored Monroe 9-7 to take a 48-19 lead into the fourth quarter.

Both team substituted freely in the final quarter, highlighted by a combined ten turnovers between the teams, but in the end Saline had earned a 64-35 win. Following his team’s victory Picket praised their effort.  “I thought we played a tremendous first half. We got off to a fast start, made good decisions, played great defense and got a big lead. We still have things to work on but this was a good win for us.” With the win Saline upped its record to 3-1 on the year, 2-0 in the SEC. The JV squad will travel to Bedford on Tuesday. Tipoff time is 5:30.


1st Star:  Brad Wisniewski (14 points, 8 rebounds)

2nd Star: Trevor Arico (11 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists and great ball-handling)

3rd Star:  Peter Jacobsen (10 points, 3 assists and great ball-handling)



Saline Freshmen hoops coach LJ Frazier said a poor first quarter put his team in a hole that they couldn’t climb out of. Monroe scored ten first quarter points, while holding the Hornets scoreless to take a 10-0 lead. It was a deficit that the Hornets fought to overcome but they never got closer than eight points behind.

“We started out very flat, missed easy shots and gave up too many easy shots,” Coach Frazier said after the game. “We never could get out of that hole we dug for ourselves in the first quarter.” The freshmen team will travel to Bedford on Tuesday. Tip off time is 4pm.


1st Star: Josh Finn (14 points)

2nd Star: Griffin Goetz (4 points)

3rd Star: Ben Stack (4 points)

Steven Sheldon's picture
Steven Sheldon