Bulldogs continue roll, remain unbeaten

·3 min read
Tate Besteman (5) of Rudyard drives in the lane, while Pickford's Quincy Michalski (10) and Zach Harrison (12) defend during an Eastern UP Conference basketball game Thursday night.
Tate Besteman (5) of Rudyard drives in the lane, while Pickford's Quincy Michalski (10) and Zach Harrison (12) defend during an Eastern UP Conference basketball game Thursday night.

PICKFORD — Rudyard continues to steamroll through the Eastern UP Conference.

The Bulldogs cruised to a 74-25 win over Pickford in a EUPC boys basketball game Thursday night.

Tate Besteman scored 22 points and EJ Suggitt added 15 points to lead the state’s No. 3-ranked Bulldogs, who pushed their record to 7-0 overall, 4-0 EUPC.

“We’re focusing on getting better every night,” Rudyard coach Jim Suggitt said. “We’re always working on some things. Tonight, it was nice to see us get some momentum off of our press. Tate is a big target to throw over on the 1-3-1, so obviously they had some trouble with that. Our (defensive) wings dropped harder as well, which helped create some turnovers.”

Pickford was overmatched and struggled against the Bulldogs’ 1-3-1 zone defensive pressure. Besteman, 6-8, disrupted the passing lanes at the front of the press, igniting a series of breaks and showcased his Euro-step as he got to the basket multiple times. Besteman scored 10 in the first quarter and had 16 by halftime.

“It’s a nice inside-outside combo to have (Tate and EJ),” coach Suggitt said. “They started in man-to-man, and Tate took advantage. Then they switched to zone and that left EJ open from the outside. Then we also have Warner working underneath, Mayer can step up with his outside shot, and Cam can take it to the basket. We have a lot of things we could go to against their 2-3 zone.”

Zach Harrison finished with eight points, while Jacob Edington and Braylon Rounds added five points each for the Panthers (0-5 overall, 0-4 EUPC).

“We would have liked to give a little better showing than that, but we just turned it over way too much,” Pickford coach Steve McConkey said. “Rudyard is a tough ball team and just a tough team to go against. Jimmy Suggitt has had those kids for a long time and their best players are seniors now. The score could have been even worse, but our kids did keep fighting to the end.

“We’re struggling right now but there’s no giving up,” McConkey said. “We still need to build and learn to play better team basketball. There’s a lot of season left and we just have to keep working.”

Rudyard led 50-12 at halftime. The Bulldogs subbed freely in the second half, most of which was played with a running clock. Cam Peterson finished with eight points, while Brett Mayer and Aiden Bickel had seven points each and Austin Warner and Jacob Nolan had six points each.

Pickford's Braylon Rounds (3) leads a fast break, while Rudyard's Austin Warner (23) chases during a EUPC boys basketball game Thursday night.
Pickford's Braylon Rounds (3) leads a fast break, while Rudyard's Austin Warner (23) chases during a EUPC boys basketball game Thursday night.

So far Rudyard has won its four EUPC games by an average margin of 45.5 points. The only team in the conference the Bulldogs haven’t played yet on the first cycle through the league is Brimley, as that game was postponed earlier this month and now rescheduled to be this upcoming Tuesday.

“The kids are getting into a game rhythm,” Suggitt said. “We played a little better tonight than we did Tuesday. We’ll have to step it up even more with Munising coming in on Saturday.”

Rudyard plays host to Munising Saturday in a matchup between teams ranked in the top 10 in the state in Division 4. A JV game is slated to tip off at 4 p.m., following by the varsity contest. Pickford visits Sault Ste. Marie on Monday.

Rudyard 26 24 15 9 — 74

Pickford 6 6 6 7 — 25

Rudyard — Besteman 22, Peterson 8, Nolan 6, Bickel 7, Mayer 7, Warner 6, Zeeryp 2, Suggitt 15. FT: 12-16; F: 10; 3-point field goals: 6 (Suggitt 3, Nolan 1, Bickel 1, Mayer 1).

Pickford — Edington 5, Rounds 5, Harrison 8, Clegg 4, Barowski 1, McDonald 2. FT: 2-4; F: 13; 3-point field goals: 1 (Rounds).

Contact Sports Editor Rob Roos at rroos@sooeveningnews.com. Follow him on Twitter, @rroosTEN.

This article originally appeared on The Sault News: Bulldogs continue roll, remain unbeaten

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