Hoops Roundup: Huffman, Mackinaw City boys hold off Ellsworth in NLC battle
ELLSWORTH – The Mackinaw City boys basketball team didn’t just pick up a win on the road Tuesday night.
The Comets picked up an enormous win on the road, one that will give them a tremendous shot to win the Northern Lakes Conference title outright this season.
Traveling to face Ellsworth, the Comets took control of their own NLC destiny by capturing a hard-fought 75-69 victory over the Lancers in a pivotal conference matchup.
While the Comets were victorious on Tuesday, head coach John Martin brought to light the recent tragedy in the Escanaba community, which saw both Gerald, 47, and Tara Weaver, 46, lose their lives after being killed while heading to watch their son’s boys basketball game in Sault Ste. Marie late last week.
“In Northern Michigan, basketball is a staple to many communities throughout the long winter months,” said Martin. “Today we are mourning with our fellow community of Escanaba as they try to heal from the tragedy that occurred last week. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Weaver family and the Escanaba community as they try to piece together their lives in the coming days, week and months.”
With Tuesday’s triumph, the Comets (11-3, 7-1 NLC) are now in sole possession of first place in the conference standings, while Harbor Light (7-7, 5-2) and Ellsworth (10-5, 4-2) are in second and third respectively.
Senior Lars Huffman led the way with a strong second half, scoring 19 of his game-high 20 points to fuel the Comets, while senior Cooper Whipkey, who drilled four 3-pointers, added 16 points. In addition to Huffman and Whipkey, Mackinaw City featured three other double-digit scorers, including Lucas Bergstrom, who netted 13 points, and Trystan Swanson and Noah Valot, who had 11 apiece. Sabastian Pierce chipped in with four.
Kelan Pletcher’s game-high 29 points led the Lancers, who received 16 points from Jacob Jenuwine.
Mackinaw City hosts Harbor Light in another critical NLC showdown on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
I-L boys throttle JoBurg on road, sweep season series
JOHANNESBURG-LEWISTON – Just a few days after a narrow overtime loss at Gaylord St. Mary, the Inland Lakes boys basketball team took the court with a chance to pick up a rare season sweep over Johannesburg-Lewiston on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs certainly made the most of their opportunity by trouncing the Cardinals in a 75-27 road victory.
“I don’t think we’ve swept JoBurg ever,” said Inland Lakes coach Lee Nash. “It was nice to go on the road and come out with a win like that. JoBurg shot well in the first quarter, but we regrouped and played a little harder and smarter and executed better. We had a nice run in second quarter to blow things open. We got a lot of people playing time. The last few games have been very stressful, so it was nice to go on the road and get a win like this to build confidence for everyone.
“It was a nice bounce-back win.”
Senior Kaden Hansel knocked down five 3-pointers and finished with 22 points to lead the Bulldogs (9-5, 7-2 Ski Valley Conference), who used a 25-3 scoring advantage in the second quarter to build a 39-16 halftime lead. Sam Schoonmaker scored 12 points, while Connor Wallace had nine, Payton Teuthorn netted eight, Aidan Fenstermaker added seven, Sam Mayer and Cash DePauw both contributed with six, Connor Knight recorded three, and Noah Shugar chipped in with two.
Inland Lakes travels to Bellaire for a Ski Valley contest on Thursday.
Cheboygan girls struggle in road loss at Newberry
NEWBERRY – Inconsistency on the offensive end has been a major problem for the Cheboygan girls basketball team during the course of the season.
On Tuesday, their offensive woes returned in a 33-26 loss at Newberry in a Straits Area Conference contest.
Though the Lady Chiefs (4-11, 2-5 SAC) only trailed 14-11 at halftime, they netted just two third-quarter points, while the Indians held a 13-2 scoring advantage in the period to take a 27-13 lead into the fourth.
Senior Cassidy Jewell led Cheboygan with 15 points, while fellow senior Kenzie Burt tallied eight. Kinsey Carpenter scored two and Bella Ecker added one.
“We didn’t play our best tonight,” said Cheboygan coach Walter Hanson. “We turned the ball over too many times and didn’t get into a rhythm on offense. We were able to cause a lot of turnovers, but had a hard time converting them (into points). We were able to make a run at the end, but it wasn’t enough. Newberry hit a lot of shots and they played very well. Fouls were a factor and plagued us later in the game. Cass (Jewell) was able to attack the basket late in the game to give us a chance.
“We played hard, just not well.”
Cheboygan hosts St. Ignace in SAC action on Thursday.
Ferraiuolo, Brabson combine for 52 points in NMCA boys win
BURT LAKE – It was a huge scoring night for both freshman Josh Ferraiuolo and junior Josiah Brabson, who combined for 52 points to help lead the Burt Lakes Northern Michigan Christian Academy boys basketball team, which picked up a 66-36 home victory over Boyne Falls on Tuesday.
Ferraiuolo finished with 28 points, nine assists and four steals for the Eagles (8-5, 3-4 Northern Lakes Conference), who received 24 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals from Brabson. Senior Ben MacCurdy helped out with six points and 14 boards. Derek Vest grabbed 10 rebounds and Wyatt Martens tallied four steals.
“We started off really sluggish with too many turnovers and we just seemed tentative,” said NMCA coach James Brabson. “I’m not sure if the boys were just trying to feel out how to attack or feel out what they wanted to do, but our first quarter was rough sledding. We knew it was going to be a physical game with them and our first quarter was a pretty weak showing, but from the second quarter on, the boys really hit the gas and had some pretty great runs.”
Ferraiuolo keyed the Eagles in a 12-0 second-quarter run, connecting on three 3-pointers and scoring 13 of his 28 in that period. In the third, Brabson knocked down three treys, which fueled a 16-2 NMCA run to put the game out of reach.
“I again go back to the team meeting we had last week and wanted to see better defense out of us, and we are just starting to see the results of better effort on the defensive end,” Brabson said. There’s still room for a lot of improvement, but I’m glad to see our guys stop trying to go out and just outscore people.”
NMCA hosts Wolverine in a NLC matchup on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Brooke Ferraiuolo scores 30, NMCA girls breeze past Loggers
BURT LAKE – A tremendous scoring night from senior Brooke Ferraiuolo helped lead the way for the Burt Lake Northern Michigan Christian Academy girls basketball team, which rolled to a 61-9 win over Boyne Falls on Tuesday.
Ferraiuolo poured in a game-high 30 points and also recorded five assists and five steals to lead the Lady Eagles (11-4, 7-1 Northern Lakes Conference), while Otillia Styburski had eight points and 12 rebounds, Katie Schepperley added eight points and seven rebounds, and Alexis Fosmore helped out with six points, seven rebounds and five steals.
“I was very pleased with our effort tonight, especially on the defensive end of the floor,” said NMCA coach Josh Ferraiuolo. “We controlled the boards and were able to get out and run. Going into the game we were going to be without Shanna (Ferraiuolo) and her scoring ability because of managing her total games played due to junior games she already played, so focusing on defense was a must. It was also good for other girls to step in, play those minutes and be productive in her absence, which they did. We had fun tonight, and we will move on to some of the tougher games coming up.”
NMCA heads to Wolverine for another conference clash on Monday, Feb. 6.
This article originally appeared on Cheboygan Daily Tribune: Cheboygan Area Basketball Roundup