BASKETBALL: Saline Survives Late Scare to Defeat Notre Dame


Garrett Baldwin hits the second of two free throws with fewer than 10 seconds remaining.

Saline survived a late scare to defeat Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 59-55, and improve its record to 6-2.


It wasn't always pretty - the Hornets watched an eight-point lead nearly vanish late in the fourth - but Saline hung on to win.

"I was proud of our effort. We fought and fought. It was a nailbiter down the stretch and we found a way to win," Saline coach Michael Marke said. "That's what we put on the board. That's the last thing in our keys to the game, right at the bottom, is 'Just win, baby.' That's from Al Davis and the Raiders. That's our mindset and that's our motto."

Cooper Fairman led the Hornets with 12 points - six of which came during the fourth quarter.  Dylan Mesman scored 10 points. Romeo Love, Josh Koch and Garrett Baldwin each scored nine points. Braden LaRusso scored seven points. Nick Boettger scored three points.


Jon Risi scored 15 points to lead Notre Dame Prep and Wade Robinson scored 14.


Notre Dame Prep visited Saline with a 7-2 record and wins against Arbor Prep, Rochester, Rochester Adams and Lake Orion. The score was tied at 12 after the first quarter and Notre Dame Prep led 22-21 at halftime. 

The Hornets started pulling away in the third quarter. Fairman sank two free throw shots to give Saline the lead - a lead they never did relinquish despite a late charge. Then Dylan Mesman hit a three from the corner.


After a Notre Dame basket, Love hit a three-pointer to make give Saline a 29-24 lead.


Up 29-26, Saline went on an eight-point run bookended by baskets by Koch. Fairman hit a couple of free throws and Boettger scored off a pretty pass by LaRusso.


Saline led 37-26. The Hornets got baskets by Mesman and LaRusso before the end of the quarter and Saline led 41-34 going into the fourth.

Notre Dame spent the quarter nipping at the Hornets' heels. Fairman hit a couple of free throws, Notre Dame responded with a basket. Mesman scored from underneath, Notre Dame replied with a basket.


Two minutes into the quarter, Baldwin attempted a three which clanged off the rim. Baldwin rebounded the basketball and leaped through the lane to score to make it 47-40. But Olis replied with a three-pointer and then Notre Dame scored again. Saline's lead was down to two points.


With 4:45 to play, Fairman scored took a pass and exploded along the baseline to score. LaRusso followed by making two free throws to make it 51-45. Fairman then went 1-for-2 from the line to make it 52-45. 

<!-- EMBEDDED 1483606534731059200 URL: 1483606534731059200 -->

After a basket by Notre Dame, Baldwin sunk a three-pointer to give Saline a 55-47 lead with fewer than three minutes to play.


Unfortunately, Saline's ball security issues reappeared momentarily and Notre Dame climbed right back into the contest. Saline led 56-55 with 32 seconds to play.

Baldwin gave Saline much-needed breathing room went he sunk both free throws with 9.5 seconds left to give Saline a 58-55 lead.

"The student section helps us out, but it's always nerve-racking to come in and knock down those free throws and I was fortunate to make them. It's scary," Baldwin said. "It was a great feeling to knock those down."

Saline's defense got the stop and then Koch closed the scoring with another free throw with 3 seconds remaining.

Saline went 16 for 25 from the free-throw line. 

"We went to the line 25 times. We're shooting a ton of them and that helps ease the pain if you do miss a couple. We shot 65 percent tonight - a lot better than it has been," Marek said. "We had a few turnovers down the stretch, but all in all I was pleased with the way we played and finished the game."

Fairman went 8-for-10 from the stripe.

"Cooper did well. I liked the way he attacked the rim today. He and G were guarding two wing players who were really good," Marek said. "I was pleased on both sides of the ball."


Saline hosts Monroe Friday.


I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is not local
This is unverified