Bay City roundup: Tournament time is the second chance many needed

BAY CITY, MI — A look at boys basketball district tournament action in the Bay…

BAY CITY, MI — A look at boys basketball district tournament action in the Bay City area for March 23, 2021, as reported to MLive. Area coaches are asked to submit results and highlights the night of every game by emailing [email protected]

Please check back often as this post is being updated as information becomes available.

RELATED: Updated Bay City area boys basketball district pairings and results

DIVISION 2 at ESSEXVILLE GARBER

ESSEXVILLE GARBER 70, MIDLAND BULLOCK CREEK 51

Getting back on the court felt like a victory for Essexville Garber.

Showing they’re a better team than their record suggests was a bonus.

The Dukes made their return from a 12-day layoff a triumphant one, lighting up the scoreboard for a 70-51 victory in the Division 2 district quarterfinal. Garber had not competed since March 11 due to coronavirus issues but came back strong.

“They played loose,” Garber coach Chris Watz said. “They realize we lost out on even playing our last three games. That was a reminder to all of them that it can be taken at any time, so let’s enjoy it.”

After slumping to a 3-8 regular season record, the Dukes get a chance to prove they’re capable of more in the postseason. So far, they’re taking advantage of the opportunity.

Garber hit a season high with 70 points, putting 11 players in the scoring column and featuring five players with eight points or more in a balanced and aggressive attack. A 26-14 third-quarter outburst put the Dukes in charge.

“We had a lot of guys doing a lot of things,” Watz said. “We were coming from all sides, and every coach likes to see that.”

Hunter Jatczak led the way with 14 points while Jack Mularz scored 10. Evan Burrows, Tommy Szczepanski and Brayden Swartout each tallied eight points in the win.

That gives the Dukes a rematch with Freeland in Thursday’s semifinal. Garber scored a season-low 29 points in a 51-29 setback on Feb. 25, leaving with the Dukes with yet another thing to amend at tournament time.

Bullock Creek (5-11) was led by Seth Bradford with 15 points.

John Glenn and Garber players bump fists after a game on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com)Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com

SWAN VALLEY 62, JOHN GLENN 56

After splitting two competitive meetings during the regular season, John Glenn knew Round 3 with Saginaw Swan Valley was going to be a battle.

It was, indeed, a fight to the finish before Swan Valley emerged with a 62-56 triumph in the Division 2 district opener.

“It was a pretty good basketball game and we did a lot of things right,” Glenn coach Dale Clyde said. “We won a lot of categories, but we lost a couple big ones. We had way too many turnovers and we were 9-for-21 from the free-throw line. We got there, but we need to cash in.”

The return of senior Troy Porter from injury seemed to energize the Bobcats early, Porter scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the first quarter and Glenn trailed just 32-31 at halftime. But Swan Valley built a seven-point lead through three and never relented.

Brady Rogers scored 11 points for Glenn (4-11) while Ethan Swincicki tallied 10 and Quincy Almond nine. Max Dawson and Ben Fordney each scored 16 and Braylen Himmelein added 15 in the three-pronged attack for Swan Valley (5-13), which meets Carrollton in Thursday’s district semifinal.

Glenn bids farewell to 11 seniors from its 15-player roster.

“It’s always hard to lose your last game,” Clyde said. “I told the seniors after the game that they’re good people, and that matters. You’re going to miss the game of basketball, but being a good person sticks with you the rest of your life.”

Logan Roth

Logan Roth of the Roscommon boys basketball team for 2021. (With permission Susan Moy)

DIVISION 3 at HOUGHTON LAKE

ROSCOMMON 44, HOUGHTON LAKE 42

Roscommon and Houghton Lake saw their season hampered by coronavirus issues.

But when the archrivals drew each other for the opening round of the Division 3 district tournament, they knew there would be no room for excuses.

In a game fitting of their long-running rivalry, Roscommon fought back in the fourth quarter for a dramatic 44-42 victory.

“This was a huge win tonight,” Roscommon coach M.J. Ewald said. “It’s always tough to play a rival school, let alone in the district opener.”

Roscommon (9-5), which had not competed in the past 13 days due to quarantine measures, found itself in a 40-35 hole midway through the fourth quarter. But the Bucks finished the game on a 9-2 run, highlighted by a steal and layup by Logan Roth.

The senior led the way with 17 points while Mac Schultz scored 10 and Joel Ewald eight for Roscommon, which faces McBain in Thursday’s semifinal.

Houghton Lake (2-8) meant business after dropping the regular season meeting by 19 points. The Bobcats built a 28-21 lead at the half and held the edge until the closing minutes. Jake Hamp scored nine points while Bryce Ripke, Cody Meigs and Anthony Lindemeyer each scored seven.

Gladwin basketball

Derek Sackitt of the Gladwin boys basketball team for 2021. (Courtesy)

DIVISION 2 at STANDISH-STERLING

GLADWIN 50, CLARE 38

It’s been a roller coaster season for Gladwin.

So the Flying G’s couldn’t expect the postseason to be smooth sailing.

Gladwin opened the Division 2 district in head-spinning fashion, bolting to a 16-0 lead out of chute, only to nearly give it all away before the end of the first half. But the G’s responded in time to snare an eventful 50-38 victory over Clare and move on to the second round.

“We came out of the gates strong tonight,” Gladwin coach Mike Verellen said. “But we had to fight to close this one out.”

Derek Sackitt poured in nine first-quarter points to spirit Gladwin to the big start. But Clare clawed its way back, and when Jacob Recker hit a halfcourt buzzer beater, the Pioneers went into halftime down just two points at 22-20.

But Gladwin (8-8) weathered the storm, countering with a 19-7 third quarter to regain the upper hand.

Sackitt finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in the win while Wilson Bragg scored 12 points. Ethan Shea added eight points and seven boards and Hunter Williams notched seven points and six assists.

It was a fitting start to the tournament for Gladwin, which started the season 5-2 before encountering coronavirus issues and losing six out of seven. The Flying G’s face host Standish-Sterling in Thursday’s district semifinal.

Recker led Clare (5-9) with 14 points.

Michael Fernald

Michael Fernald of the Cass City basketball team for 2021. (Courtesy)

DIVISION 3 at LAKER

CASS CITY 48, LAKER 43 (OT)

It wouldn’t be tournament time without a little magic, and Cass City pulled a rabbit out of its hat in the Division 3 district debut.

Michael Fernald drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime, giving the Red Hawks the second chance they needed for a 48-43 victory over Laker.

Cass City (6-8), which lost to Laker by double digits twice during the regular season, used Fernald’s dramatics as a springboard to take charge in the extra session. Alex Perry clinched the victory with a tip-in.

Fernald finished with 23 points and seven rebounds in the win while Carter Patrick scored 13 points and Bryce Fernald added seven. The Red Hawks advance to Thursday’s semifinal vs. Bad Axe.

Laker bows out at 7-6.

All Saints boys basketball hosts Carsonville-Port Sanilac

All Saints’ head coach Jason Brzezinski chats with the team during a game against Carsonville-Port Sanilac in Bay City on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com) Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com

DIVISION 4 at AKRON-FAIRGROVE

ASHLEY 54, ALL SAINTS 53

Every year, the tournament brings a first-round shocker.

Bay City All Saints found itself on the wrong side of one in the Division 4 district opener.

Ashley entered the postseason 0-16 with every loss coming by at least an 18-point margin. But it somehow found the winning touch at tournament time, stunning All Saints 54-53.

All Saints (8-5), which won its past five games but had not played in 11 days, led 26-22 at the half only to see Ashley turn the tide with a 14-4 third-quarter spree. Aaron and Logan Drummond combined for 25 points to spark the Bears to the monumental win.

All Saints finished with a flurry, pouring in 23 fourth-quarter points, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Bears.

“We had a disappointed lockerroom, but our guys battled to give themselves a chance,” All Saints coach Jason Brzezinski said. “Multiple times we could have folded, but we kept battling it out.”

The Cougars knocked down 11 3-pointers in the contest. Zack Kontes sank six triples in a 20-point performance while Antonio Reyes made four threes in a 15-point effort. Alex Czyzewski just missed a triple double in the finale of his four-year varsity career with nine points, 10 assists and 12 rebounds.