BASKETBALL: Saline Varsity Boys Struggle in Win, Improve to 7-4

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Every team, regardless of the sport, whether at the high school level, Division 1 College or the pros, has heard the phrase “winning ugly.”

Teams at every level of play have won ugly. And that is what the Saline Hornets did Monday evening in Ypsilanti when the Hornets defeated the Ypsilanti Grizzlies 41-33.

Though the gym at Ypsilanti High School was unbearably hot, for most of the game the Hornet offensive attack was ice cold. Saline managed to put 10 points on the scoreboard in the entire first half.

The Hornet attack in the first quarter was at the hand of senior guard Derek “Steady” Caldwell, who scored the last six points for Saline to help them to a 9-9 tie after the first eight minutes of play.

Things went ice cold for the Hornet offense in the second, failing to sink a single basket. It didn’t matter where they shot from. Saline missed three-pointers; they missed short jumpers; they missed lay-ups. They missed everything. The Hornets scored one point in the second quarter when junior guard Tyler Thibault converted on the first of two free throws to score Saline’s only point of the second quarter. The team headed into the locker room at the half trailing Ypsilanti 15-10.

Senior forward Anthony “Old Man” Ferrari, who managed to score one point in the first half, opened the scoring for the Hornets converting on an offensive rebound. Two minutes later, Ferrari converted another offensive rebound into points to tie the game at 17-17. Caldwell’s six third-quarter points again led the scoring for the team. The Hornets outscored the Grizzlies 24-8 in the third quarter to take a 24-23 lead into the final eight minutes.

Saline Head Coach Jake Fosdick said after the game that he relied heavily on the seniors in the fourth quarter. 

“We got good open looks for our shots tonight but nothing went in. So, I relied on our seniors to take control of the game, and they did,” Fosdick said.

Junior guard Braden LaRusso sank a short jumper thirty seconds into the quarter to give Saline a 26-23 lead. Senior forward Broadway Cooper Fairman sank a free throw a minute later to extend the lead to 27-23.

Caldwell hit a three-pointer and junior guard Romeo Love converted two free throws to give Saline a 32-23 lead with 5:53 left.

Then Caldwell and Fairman took over. On both offense and defense, the pair started to execute the game plan to perfection, limiting the Grizzlies to one shot and running the offense on the other end of the court. Coach Fosdick yelled for motion and the five players on the court weaved in and out, creating an open player to receive a pass, trimming more time off the clock.

Fosdick said that Love’s defensive play in the final minutes of play was critical. 

“I am so impressed by the job that Romeo did at the end,” Fosdick said. “He was guarding Ypsilanti’s best player and Romeo stripped the ball from him twice. Just incredible.”

With the win, the varsity upped its record to 7-4 on the year, 6-3 in the SEC Red.

The Hornets get back into action on Thursday evening when they will travel to Lincoln to take on the Railsplitters. Freshmen game will start at 4 p.m., JV at 5 p.m. and Varsity at 7 p.m. The freshmen team didn’t play because the Grizzlie freshmen were in COVID quarantine.

THE SALINE POST THREE STARS OF THE GAME:

1st Star: Derek Caldwell (21 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)

2nd Star: Romeo Love (7 points, 2 assists & outstanding defense)

3rd Star: Tyler Thibault (5 points, 5 rebounds, including 2 offensive rebounds)

JV SQUAD ROLLS OVER YPSILANTI 68-15, RECORD A PERFECT 9-0

JV Head Coach has his team firing on all cylinders this season as they crushed the Ypsilanti Grizzlies 68-15 Wednesday evening on the road. With the win, the team’s record goes to 9-0 on the season.

Saline came out in a massive Hornet swarm against the Grizzlies. They went on a 24-0 run, when a Grizzlie put up a frantic half-court shot with one second left in the quarter to cut Saline’s first quarter lead to 24-3. First quarter scoring for the Hornets included sophomore guard Zachary Fidh with 6 points, freshman Dylan Messman with 7 and sophomore Garrett Baldwin’s 7 points.

Pickett substituted freely in the second quarter but Saline kept on rolling, outscoring Ypsilanti 17-8. Second quarter scoring included Roman Laurio with 4 points, Samuel Miller with 2, Wynter Burnett with 7 and Matthew Walper had 1.

Pickett let his starters play 5:20 of the quarter, and in those five minutes, Messman scored 10 of his team’s 12 third quarter points to stake the Hornets to a 55-13 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Players came off the bench to get playing time in the fourth quarter and played solid defense, outscoring the Grizzlies 13-2, winning the game 68-15. Miller, Walper and Burnett each added another bucket, sophomore Riley Behrman scored 2 and freshman Andrew Harding added 4.

“I thought the team played really well tonight, sharing the ball and always looking for the open man,” Pickett said after the game. “Messman is the tallest player on the court and he is starting to play like it. He is tough and physical and gets to the basket.”

THE SALINE POST THREE STARS OF THE GAME:

1st Star: Dylan Messman (19 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocked shots)

2nd Star: Zachary Fidh (10 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists)

3rd Star: Wynter Burnett (10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 offensive rebounds)

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