Saline traveled to Ann Arbor Wednesday night, playing their second varsity boys basketball game in three days, and lost to Pioneer, 57-41, dropping their season record to 9-7, 3-4 in the SEC Red.
Following a disappointing performance Monday night at Huron High School, the Hornets again struggled offensively in the opening quarter. The Pioneers opened the game with a 7-0 run, forcing Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick to call a time out with 4:28 left in the quarter.
Coming out of the time out, junior guard Trevor Arico hit a jump shot to get the Hornets on the scoreboard. The defense forced Pioneer into a turnover and junior guard Griffin Yaklich drove to the hoop and was fouled.
Yaklich converted both free throws to cut Ann Arbor’s lead to 7-4. Yaklich added another short jumper and a three-point shot to close out the quarter with Saline trailing 19-9.
Yaklich opened the Hornet scoring in the second quarter hitting another jump shot, followed by a three-point shot by Arico, cutting Pioneer’s lead to 19-14. The Pioneers then put together another 7-0 run that upped their lead to ten, 26-14.
Junior forward Tyler Belskus converted an offensive rebound into two points followed by a jump shot by senior guard Peter Jacobsen as Saline headed to the locker room at the half trailing 30-18.
The Hornets came out of the locker room with a spring in their step and fire in their hearts. Led by their stingy defensive play and timely three-point shots by Belskus, senior forward Logan Evans and Jacobsen, the Hornets closed the gap to 32-28, forcing Pioneer Head Coach Rich Marion to call a time out.
Coming out of the time out, Pioneer ended the quarter with a 9-0 run to give Ann Arbor a 41-28 lead heading into the final quarter.
Led by senior guard Drew Louder and senior center Kasean Pryor, Pioneer kept the pressure on the Hornets, while making some very difficult shots. The Hornets fought to get back into the game but just couldn’t stop Pioneer’s offense to get closer than eight points as the game clock kept ticking away.
Fosdick inserted players off the bench for the final 2:40 of the game. Sophomore Nathan Holmberg hit a three-pointer with five seconds left, leaving the Hornets with a 57-41 loss.
There remains work to do for this team. One note of encouragement occurred with 3:40 left in the game.
At that 3:40 mark, double technical fouls were called on Jacobsen and Pioneer senior guard Aidan Wright. It seems that no matter the score, the fighting spirit never dims in Jacobsen.
Following the game, Jacobsen said, “I’m not going to get elbowed in the head and just stand there and take it. I’ll never do that.”
It is those fighting words from the Hornets’ senior captain that the rest of the team should take to heart.
“There is a reason that Pioneer is the number one team in the conference,” Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick said after the game. “Give them credit they made some difficult shots.”
“You have to be ready to play really hard, making plays the entire game,” Fosdick continued. “We got it to within five but just aren’t able to sustain that kind of play. To win in the SEC Red, you have to play like that for 32 minutes.”
There are four games remaining before the start of the district tournament, high school’s version of March Madness. For their first district game, the Hornets will travel to Belleville High School on Monday, February 25, 2019 and play the Huron River Rats for the third time in three weeks.
The loss to the Pioneers drops the Hornet’s record to 9-7, 3-4 in the SEC Red Division. The team will travel to Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday to take on the Eagles. Game time is 7 p.m.
SALINE POST 3 STARS:
1ST Star: Griffin Yaklich (11 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist & 1 blocked shot)
2nd Star: Logan Evans (8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist)
3rd Star: Tyler Belskus (7 points, 4 rebounds)
JV SQUAD MOUNTS HUGE COMEBACK AGAINST PIONEER, WIN 42-41
For the second game in a row, the Saline junior varsity team played a poor first half, falling behind by double-digits. However, this time their efforts paid off with a huge come from behind victory.
The Hornets managed to overcome a 12-point first half deficit to stage a dramatic comeback. Comebacks require intense effort on both offense and defense. After being outscored 11-6 in the first quarter and 16-9 in the second, JV Head Coach Jason Pickett went into the locker at the half to regroup.
“At the half, we talked about effort. We expected more effort than we gave in the first half, and talked about getting it done,” Pickett said.
And that is exactly what the team did. They upped their effort and took care of business, outscoring Pioneer 16-4 to knot the score at 31-31 heading into the final quarter.
The third quarter comeback started on defense. The Hornets forced the Pioneers into seven turnovers while the Hornets committed only two. Sophomore forward Luke Darmos had a huge second half, grabbing nine rebounds and scoring eight points.
The Hornet offense got revved up with sophomore Eli Trese connecting on two three-point shots, sandwiched between buckets by sophomore guards Nicholas Dils and Zachery Mitzel. Freshman guard Cooper Fairman connected on a three-point shot with :29 seconds left- a shot that hit nothing but net.
The Hornets had come all the way back. They were tied with Pioneer 31-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
Sophomore guard Zachery Socha got things started fifty seconds into the quarter to give Saline its first lead in the game, 33-31. Sophomore guard Nicholas Walper continued his hot three-point shooting, connecting at the 6:43 mark to up Saline’s lead to 36-31.
Pioneer then went on a 10-1 run to grab a 41-37 lead. Enter Darmos.
The Hornets inbounded the ball, worked it down court and got it into Darmos’ hands. From the corner, Darmos calmly sinks a three-point shot to get the Hornets close, down 41-40, with a minute to go.
With Coach Pickett telling his team, “we’re alright. Just calm down. We’re alright.” His team played very determined defense, limiting the Pioneers to one shot. When it missed, Darmos grabbed the rebound.
Dils and guard Benjamin Sundquist worked together to bring the ball into Saline’s offensive zone. As they worked the ball around the top of the key, Darmos broke free under the basket. Dils fired a pass to Darmos who converted the hoop to give Saline a 42-41 lead.
Pioneer raced down the court, got off a shot with ten seconds left but it was off the mark. Sundquist gobbled up the rebound to seal the Hornet victory. The win ups Saline’s record to 14-2.
The Hornets travel to Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday to take on the Eagles. In January, Saline beat the Eagles 48-35. Game time is 5:30 p.m.
SALINE POST 3 STARS:
1st Star: Luke Darmos (14 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocked shots)
2nd Star: Eli Trese (6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist)
3rd Star: Nicholas Walper (6 points, 3 rebounds)
Honorable Mention: Nicholas Dils (4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist & superb ball handling)
FRESHMEN HANDLE PIONEER ON THE ROAD, WIN 40-28
The Saline freshmen team got on the Pioneers early and never let up, winning easily 40-28 Wednesday night, upping their season record to 14-2. The Hornets were led by Joshua Koch’s nine points.
The team will travel to Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday. Tip off time is 4 p.m.
SALINE POST 3 STARS:
1st Star: Joshua Koch (9 points)
2nd Star: Braden LaRusso (7 points)
3rd Star: Gavin Mesman (6 points)