BASKETBALL: Saline Celebrates Senior Night with 59-47 Win Over Jackson Parma Western

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The end of the regular hoops season is always senior night. A night where all the senior members of the varsity team are honored in front of their parents and friends. Friday night the Hornet gym saw the seniors lead the way in a convincing 59-47 win over the Jackson Parma Western Panthers.

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Senior night has always felt personal. An acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication the players have given to the basketball program. A chance to soak in the applause from an appreciative crowd.

This year senior night was especially personal for me. My wife Anne passed away in November from complications of her breast cancer. In all the years I have written about Saline High School basketball, Anne never missed a senior night. Until this year.

The basketball program shined on senior night. The freshmen started things off with an impressive 52-44 win over Ann Arbor Skyline to finish with a 12-2 record.

The JV squad completed a perfect season by demolishing the Panthers from Jackson 74-47. The team finished with an undefeated record of 13-0.

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But the night belonged to the varsity squad. The five seniors, Nicholas Dils, Jaden Pickett, Derek Caldwell, Anthony Ferrari and Eli Trese started the game. The Hornets fell behind early, 9-4 when Caldwell hit a short jumper with 4:21 close the gap to three, 9-6.

Junior guard Cooper Fairman made a free throw to knot the score at 9-9. Caldwell scored the last four points for the Hornets to give Saline a 13-11 first quarter lead.

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Pickett got things rolling in the second, with a nothing but net three-pointer from the corner. Junior guard Braden LaRusso scored a few seconds later to up the Hornet lead to 18-14. Junior guard Romeo Love turned a Panther turnover into another three points, connecting on a shot from the top of the key, with Saline going up 21-14.

Caldwell scored the final four points of the second quarter, sending the Hornets to the locker room with a 25-18 lead.

It was the Hornet starters, Caldwell, Ferrari, Fairman, Pickett and junior Tyler Thibeault who led the way in a huge third quarter for Saline. Thibeault scored seven of the first eight points of the quarter, including an in-bounds pass from Caldwell that found Thibeault standing all alone under the basket. 

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The Hornet offense was firing on all cylinders as they took a 47-33 into the final quarter.

Junior Nicholas Boettcher scored the first four points to give Saline a 51-36 lead. Ferrari connected, followed by LaRusso making two free throws, upping the Hornet lead to 55-43.

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Seniors Pickett, Caldwell and Ferrari finished the Hornets scoring to give Saline the 59-47 victory.

Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick called a time out with 1:38 remaining so he could substitute and give his five seniors one more chance for applause as they exited their home court for the last time as a Hornet player.

The Hornets were led by Caldwell’s 18 points and five assists. Thibeault had 12 points and 2 assists, Pickett 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Ferrari chipped in 6 with 4 rebounds and 3 assists and Fairman added 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

Following the game, Fosdick had high praise for his seniors.

“This senior class meant a lot to me. I have known them for a long time, some since the sixth grade. Anthony (Ferrari), Jaden (Pickett) and Derek (Caldwell) all came up to varsity as sophomores. Their belief in the program and our culture has been unbelievable.”

“I am so proud of everything the team has accomplished,” Fosdick continued. “With all of the uncertainty this season had, the seniors kept the team motivated and ready to play when the opportunity came.”

With the win, Saline ends its regular season with a 9-5 record. The Hornets will begin their district play on Tuesday against the Ypsilanti Grizzlies at Lincoln High School. Tip off time is 7 p.m.

THE SALINE POST THREE STARS OF THE GAME

1st
Star: Derek Caldwell, Nicholas Dils, Anthony Ferrari, Jaden Pickett & Eli Trese

2nd
Star: Cooper Fairman, Romeo Love, Braden LaRusso, Joshua Koch

3rd
Star: Gavin Messman, Nicholas Boettcher, Evan Merillat & George Van Haaften

JV SQUAD WINS 74-47, FINISHES SEASON A PERFECT 13 – 0

“It is my job to get my team to play their best basketball in March. To get them ready to be varsity players,” said JV Head Coach Jason Pickett. And with his team’s performance Friday night in the final game of the year, it is mission accomplished.

Sophomore Garrett Baldwin and freshman Dylan Messman put on a clinic Friday night against the Jackson Parma Western Panthers. Baldwin and Messman, along with teammates CJ Carr and Jackson Muir staked the Hornets to a 19 – 0 lead. The Panthers scored their only points of the quarter with less than a minute to go. Saline led 19 – 4 at the end of one.

Pickett substituted people throughout the second quarter. Though he played about four minutes, Baldwin chipped in 8-second quarter points to help Saline take a 35 – 20 into the locker room at the half.

The Hornets poured it on in the third quarter, outscoring the Panthers 27 – 17. Led by Baldwin and Messman, along with Zachary Fidh, Carr and Roman Laurio, the Saline offense was unstoppable. The Hornets took a commanding 62 – 37 lead into the final eight minutes.

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The Hornets were led in the fourth quarter by freshman Andrew Harding and sophomore Wynter Burnett, who scored 9 and 11 points, respectively.

THE SALINE POST THREE STARS OF THE GAME

1st
Star: Dylan Messman (21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists & 3 blocked shots)

2nd
Star: Garrett Baldwin (21 points, 5 rebounds & 2 assists)

3rd
Star: Andrew Harding (9 points, 4 rebounds & 1 assist)

FRESHMEN DOWN SKYLINE 52 – 44, FINISH YEAR WITH 12 – 2 RECORD

The freshmen squad came back from a third quarter deficit to down the Ann Arbor Skyline Eagles 52 – 44 Friday night at Saline High School. Freshman Head Coach Kirk Boettcher said he was so proud of his team following the game.

“I just love this team. I love coaching them and so proud of everything they worked so hard for.”

“With what we went through this year, this team has been so fun to coach,” Boettcher continued.

With the win, the freshmen ended the season with a 12 – 2 record.

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THE SALINE POST THREE STARS OF THE GAME

1st
Star: Harrison Rogers (18 points)

2nd
Star: Reed Muir (10 points)

3rd
Star: Peyton Widen (10 points)

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