HASLETT – Cayden Haid hit five 3-pointers in the first three quarters as his Haslett boys basketball team built a 16-point lead and appeared to be cruising to a comfortable CAAC Red victory over Mason.
But after the Bulldogs ripped off a 15-2 run to cut the Viking lead down to three points late in the fourth quarter, Haid was called on to step up once again.
And he delivered.
Haid’s triple from the left wing – his sixth of the game – gave Haslett a 53-47 lead with just over 3 minutes remaining. He’d add a pair of free throws on the next possession to finish with 20 points Friday as the Vikings held off Mason, 61-55.
“We just needed a bucket at that point,” Haid said. “We just needed to put some distance between ourselves so it wouldn’t come down that close to the wire.
“I’m really happy that all the work I’ve put in has paid off.”
The six 3-pointers were a career-high for Haid. The senior, who’s one of the area’s top shooters from distance, set his mark against an opponent known for relying on the 3-pointer itself.
“He spent a lot of time in the gym,” said Haslett coach Chris Smith. “He shoots the ball well and when he’s got a good look, we want him to take it.”
Haslett (4-4, 3-1 CAAC Red) has now won three consecutive games since losing to Williamston on Jan. 7.
The Vikings have been powered by its backcourt of Haid, Thomas Dodd and Lonnie Smith during the recent resurgence. Lonnie Smith is considered the team’s best on-the-ball defender, while Dodd has been the team’s leading scorer this season at 12.0 points per game.
Dodd was instrumental in Friday’s win as well, finishing with 19 points, his last four coming from the free-throw line. Dodd hit his first two with 1:28 on the clock for a 57-51 lead, then Lonnie Smith hit two with 30 seconds left to make it a two-possession game before Dodd canned two more in the final seconds to provide the final margin.
Lonnie Smith finished with six points.
“When we get ball movement, keep passing, 4-5 passes per possession, it’s hard to stop us,” Haid said. “When we’re getting layups, wide-open 3s, (and) they’re fouling us, we’re tough to guard. We’ve just got to move the ball.”
Kaleb Parrish led Mason with 24 points. The Bulldogs (3-7, 2-3 CAAC Red) were without leading scorer Luke Marlan.
Haslett led at the half, 32-31, in what Chris Smith called the Vikings’ best half of the year. But in the third quarter, Parrish scored three straight Bulldog buckets as part of the 15-2 run to get the Bulldogs back in the game.
“I didn’t think we had the same intensity in the second half, but I give (Mason) a lot of credit. They really turned it up,” Chris Smith said. “Their pressure, they got after it and they bothered us. Sometimes it’s hard to play with a lead; I think kids get a little nervous playing the clock game. But I thought we did a good job down the stretch and we hit free throws when it mattered and that’s what sealed the game for us.”
Contact digital sports reporter Phil Friend at 517-377-1220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Phil_Friend.
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Haslett boys basketball led by Cayden Haid in CAAC Red win over Mason