BASKETBALL: Saline Opens Season with 69-27 Drubbing of Riverview

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Josh Koch led Saline's attack with 16 points - 10 in the first quarter.

The Michael Marek era of Saline boys' basketball kicked off in dazzling fashion as Saline defeated Riverview, 69-27, at Saline High School Tuesday.

PHOTO GALLERY HERE

13 different Hornets scored during the contest. Josh Koch scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the first quarter. Braden LaRusso scored 13 points. Cooper Fairman, Dylan Mesman and Jackson Rogers each scored six points. George VanHaaften scored five points. Nick Boettger, Garrett Baldwin and Jackson Muir each scored three points. Zach Fidh, Romeo Love and Tyler Thibeault and Wynter Burnett each scored two points.

Saline coach Michael Marek assessed his team's performance.

"It was a great start. Happy with how the boys played, but we're not satisfied. There's still a lot of work left to do," Marek said.  "The boys played hard. 1 through 14 contributed, and that's what I was happy about. Everyone got in, everyone played well. It was a team effort.

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Marek also spoke about his experience coaching Saline in a game environment for the first time.

"The student section was rocking. I had my entire family here. It was a great environment and I was very pleased with the outcome," Marek said. "You never really know (with a team) until you get into a game. In the scrimmages we looked good, but I thought we looked even better in the game. One thing about this team - I don't have to fire them up. They're firing each other up and they're ready to go when we hit the floor."

Need proof? Saline led 11-1 just 3:30 into the game.

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The Hornets made their way through the paint with ease.

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Saline led 19-9 after the first quarter. 10 of those points came from senior Josh Koch.

"He looked amazing," Marek said about Koch. "I think I said (in the preview article) he could average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game and he was right there. He does it in practice every day. So, it wasn't anything that surprised me."

Koch said he enjoyed returning to action - especially with the kind of student section which was not permitted during the 2020-21 season.

"I'm just glad to be back, especially with a lot of fans here. With all the fans here cheering us on, it feels like a new game," Koch said.

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The dominance continued into the second quarter.

Romeo Love opened with a basket, slicing through two Bucs on the way to the hoop.

From there, the onslaught continued.

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Dylan Mesman's bucket at the buzzer gave Saline a 38-14 lead.

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Saline's lowest-scoring quarter was the third. The Hornets outscored Riverview 10-7 and took a 48-21 lead into the fourth quarter.

Saline piled on 21 points in the fourth in front of their appreciative student section.

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Some of the biggest cheers came for players who are new to varsity or who didn't play much last year.

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Saline visits Bedford Friday to open the SEC Red season.

The Saline Post 3 Stars

1. Jackson Koch - As coach Market said, Koch played like a 20-point, 10-rebound kind of player, despite sitting out most of the second half as the Hornets pulled away. Koch showed quickness and power in the paint - and also said he's got a three-point shot to go with his power game.

2. Braden LaRusso - The senior guard excelled in a new role, scoring lots of points and quarterbacking the offense.

3. Cooper Fairman - Scored six points and dished the ball all around the court.

PHOTO GALLERY HERE

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