BASKETBALL: Saline Struggles Against Bates and the Railsplitters

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 12/09/2018 - 15:18
Griffin Yaklich led Saline with 15 points.

As most adults understand, to get “schooled” is “to be taught a lesson the hard way.”

The Saline Hornet varsity hoopsters were schooled by the Lincoln Railsplitters Friday night in front of a packed Saline High School gym. The loud home crowd was estimated to be between 1,000-1,200 people, including a large contingent cheering on the Railsplitters.

In the end, Lincoln handed Saline a lopsided 70-39 loss, dropping their season record to 2-2.  The Railsplitter roster features freshman standout Emoni Bates, considered the top freshman basketball player in the United States. Bates finished the game with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

Saline was outmatched in all aspects of the game, from start to finish. The opening quarter saw the Hornets struggling to match the offensive firepower of Lincoln, while the Hornet ball-handlers were pressured every step of every trip up the court.

Led by Bates’ seven first quarter points, the ‘Splitters cruised to a 15-5 first quarter lead. Junior guard Griffin Yaklich scored four of his team high 15 points in the opening quarter.

The Hornets were able to generate a little more offense in the second quarter, led by junior guard Peter Jacobsen’s 8 points, including two three-point shots. Jacobsen was able to connect on three-point shots in two consecutive trips down the court. His second cut the Lincoln lead to five, 18-13. He scored his final two points of the quarter with :29 seconds left when he converted an offensive rebound to send Saline to the locker room down by ten, 26-16 at the half.

The intense defensive pressure applied by the ‘Spiltters forced Saline into 16 turnovers for the game, a high for the season. However, playing against this kind of defensive pressure this early in the season will serve these young Hornets well as they move into SEC Red division action in January.

Lincoln started the third quarter on an 11-2 run, led once again by Bates. Lincoln outscored the Hornets 40-23 in the second half, to cruise to a 70-39 victory.

“At this point in the season, we are just not ready to compete against a team like Lincoln,” said Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick. “Bates is by far the best player in the SEC this year, and he is really, really good. We were just not ready for the physicality of this team.”

Saline was led by Yaklich’s 15 points, followed by Peter Jacobsen and Logan Evans’ 8 points and Nathan Holmberg added 5.

“We will need to work to improve on our ball-handling under intense pressure and to play more physical on the boards,” Fosdick said.

Fosdick said his team will continue to work on making improvements in practice.

“We will continue to improve. The guys are working hard and are committed to getting better,” he said.

Saline will get back into action on Tuesday night when they host Hartland High School at the Saline High School gym. Tip-off time is 7 p.m.



1st Star: Griffin Yaklich (15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists)

2nd Star: Peter Jacobsen (8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist)

3rd Star: Nathan Holmberg (5 points, 3 rebounds)

Honorable Mention: Crowd at SHS (It was loud)



Although you would never hear JV Head Coach Jason Pickett say it, his JV squad pitched a perfect game in its 67-25 dismantling of the Lincoln Railsplitters Friday night. The win raised the team’s season record to 4-0.

The team played tenacious defense throughout the game but it was their unbelievable first quarter that put this game out of reach.

Led by sophomore guard Eli Trece’s 9 points and sophomore center Luke Darmos’ 5 points, Saline pulled out to an incredible 20-2 first quarter lead. The defense gave up two points in 8 minutes of play.

The second quarter was more of the same with Saline outscoring the Railsplitters 14-6, taking a 34-8 halftime lead.

Throughout the second half, Saline cruised through the final 16 minutes of play, allowing everyone of the roster to get playing time and to score.

“This team is all about sharing the ball and playing defense,” said Saline JV Coach Jason Pickett. ‘They play as a unit, and push each other in practice.”

The defensive focus in practices have been reflected in the team’s play this season. For the season the junior Hornets have outscored their opponents through four game 229-126. They are giving up an average of 31.5 points per game.

The JV squad will host Hartland on Tuesday evening. Game time is 5:30 p.m.


1st Star: Luke Darmos (20 points, 5 rebounds)

2nd Star: Evan Merillat (8 points, 1 rebound)

3rd Star: Eli Trece (7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist)

              Bryce Wizner (7 points, 3 rebounds)







Steven Sheldon's picture
Steven Sheldon