The Hornets saw another fourth quarter surge fall short as they were defeated by the Ann Arbor Huron River Rats 50-40 Tuesday night in the season’s next to last home game. The loss drops Saline’s record to 10-8, 3-6 in the SEC Red Division.
The young Hornet squad once again struggled offensively scoring just 22 points through three quarters of action. From the opening tip off, the game against the River Rats was physical. At times, a contact sport became a full contact sport.
Huron had developed a game plan against the Hornets designed to stifle and contain their back-court sophomore combo of Trevor Arico and Griffin Yaklich. Arico had a shadow on him all night as he could go nowhere on the court without having a River Rat firmly planted in his face. Yaklich, the point-guard on the Hornet offense, also was confronted with in-your-face defense. As has been the case in other games this season, as goes Saline’s young back-court combination of ‘Thunder’ and ‘Lightning’, so goes the Hornet offense.
“In the SEC, you will have physical games. We need to learn how to play with the same intensity and desperation for all four quarters of a game as we did in the fourth quarter tonight,” Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick said. “We haven’t played a full game yet with the intensity that we need to be successful.”
The game featured several scoring runs by Huron as they seemed to score their points in bunches. The River Rats opened the game with two 3-pointers to race out to a 6-0 lead before Yaklich got Saline on the board at the 5:59 mark. The teams exchanged baskets and the first quarter ended with Saline trailing 12-8.
The 6’5” junior forward Ethan Friedrichsen provided the Hornets a spark in the second quarter coming off the bench to score three second quarter points and grab two rebounds. Junior guard Peter Jacobsen sank a three-point shot with 1:06 to go in the half to send the Hornets into the locker room trailing 19-16.
Fosdick had high praise for both Friedrichsen and Jacobsen after the game. “I can’t say enough about how Ethan (Friedrichsen) and Peter (Jacobsen) played for us tonight. Peter executes everything so perfectly offensively and defensively. And Ethan is coming off a shoulder injury and is now starting to make real contributions for us.”
It was an anemic third quarter that spelled doom for Saline. The River Rats forced five third quarter turnovers which they converted into ten points to put the game out of reach. Junior forward Connor Terech scored the Hornets’ only basket of the third quarter, putting in an offensive rebound. Saline went the final 6:42 of the quarter without making another basket.
Senior forward Emmett Turner and Arico each sank free-throws to score Saline’s other points of the quarter. Heading into the final quarter, Saline was down 33-22. As has been the case in other games this season, having to surmount a double-digit deficit in the final eight minutes was Saline’s reality Tuesday night.
The River Rats opened the fourth quarter with a 6-0 run to up their lead to 39-22 before Friedrichsen converted an offensive rebound to get things going for the Hornets. Arico hit a short jumper and Turner forced a River Rat turnover, grabbed the ball and raced the length of the court to get a lay-up to make it 42-28.
Saline then went on their only scoring run of the game, an 11-1 surge, to cut Huron’s lead to 43-37 with 0:50 seconds left. Turner took a pass from Yaklich to cut Huron’s lead to 45-39 with 0:35 seconds. Saline had to resort to fouling Huron in the final seconds which the River Rats managed to convert. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the River Rats walked off with a 50-40 win.
Fosdick said that the team will practice hard and get ready to host the SEC Division leading Skyline Eagles Friday night. “Skyline is tough and are playing really well. But we will be ready.”
The game against the Eagles will be the Hornets’ final home game of the season and is designated Senior Night. The seniors on this year’s squad will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony. Tip off time is 7 p.m.
SALINE POST THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1ST Star: Ethan Friedrichsen (10 points, 3 rebounds)
2nd Star: Emmett Turner (8 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists)
3rd Star: Griffin Yaklich (8 points, 4 assists)
JV SQUAD SHOWS GRIT AGAINST HURON, LOSE BY 1
What a difference a month makes. The Hornet JV squad faced off against the River Rats’ JV squad a month ago and were routed 59-42. They were outscored, out rebounded and totally outclassed.
It was different Tuesday night. The Hornets took the fight to Huron and in the final seconds of the game were prepared to deliver the knock-out blow. Saline moved the ball up-court and got off a shot in the final seconds, only to have a last second shot go off the rim. When the final buzzer sounded, Saline lost 49-48.
The Hornets were up by three at the half, 29-26 but fell behind in the third quarter as Huron forced four turnovers to take a 38-33 into the final quarter.
The Hornets were always within striking distance through the entire quarter. Saline took a one-point lead 44-43 with 4:20 left when sophomore guard Josh Finn drove to the basket to make a spectacular underhanded shot.
In the final three minutes, the teams traded baskets. Huron scored with 0:45 seconds left to up their lead to 49-46. Freshman guard Jaden Pickett scored his only points of the game on a jump shot from the key to bring his team within a point, 49-48 with 0:32 seconds left. After the River Rats missed the front end of a one-on-one free throw with 0:2.8 seconds left, Saline rebounded the missed shot, and two passes later the Hornets got off a highly contested shot from under the basket that was off the mark.
Saline JV Head Coach Jason Pickett was very proud of his team after the game. “I like how we competed tonight. I told the team we can’t play passive. We have to be aggressive against every team.”
The Hornets committed nine turnovers in the game while forcing Huron into sixteen. Pickett said that was all part of the plan. “I thought we were very good with the ball tonight. We maintained our composure and handled their pressure very well. I thought they would play well tonight, and they did,” Pickett said.
The loss drops Saline’s record to 10-7 on the year. They will play their last home game of the year when they host Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday. Game time is 5:30 p.m.
SALINE POST THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1ST Star: Josh Finn (23 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist)
2nd Star: Tyler Belskus (10 points, 7 rebounds)
3rd Star: Will Branham (5 points, 3 rebounds)
FRESHMEN TEAM PLAYS WELL BUT LOSES TO HURON
The Hornet freshman team lost to the Ann Arbor River Rats 52-40 Tuesday night at Saline High School dropping their season record to 11-7.
Freshman Head Coach Brian Whitley praised the game turned in by guard Eli Trece. “Eli played his best game of the year tonight. He worked very hard on both ends of the court. You couldn’t any more of a player than what he gave tonight.”
Trece finished the game with 24 points, while Bryce Wizner had 8 and John Barnett scored 7.
The freshmen will play in their last home game of the season Friday night when they will host the Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles. Game time is 4 p.m.
SALINE POST THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1ST Star: Eli Treve (24 points)
2nd Star: Bryce Wizner (8 points)
3rd Star: John Barnett (7 points)