2018-03-11 / Sports

Almont, Capac and North Branch to contend for boys hoops district titles


Lapeer’s Drew Knickerbocker reads the Arthur Hill defense on Wednesday night. 
Photo by Joe Oster Lapeer’s Drew Knickerbocker reads the Arthur Hill defense on Wednesday night. Photo by Joe Oster LAPEER — Despite miserable weather and treacherous road conditions Wednesday night, area high school boys' basketball teams contended for a berth in their respective district finals.

Lapeer and Dryden hosted their respective districts with both getting eliminated. Capac, Almont and North Branch moved on, though, and contended for district titles after we went to press Friday. Below is a recap of each district and who got knocked out and who moved on.


Lapeer's season came to an end on Wednesday night after losing to Saginaw Arthur Hill 54-48 in a basketball game that was closer than its final score.

“Everybody played their tails off tonight and fought until the end (and) we just didn’t quite make enough plays down the stretch,” said Lapeer coach Aaron Fisher. “It was the little things. I don’t know if we even made a bucket down the stretch there in the last couple minutes. We got some good looks but just couldn’t score. We got the ball where we wanted it but just didn’t make a play at the end. Our guys played great. I’m proud of them.”

Capac’s Jordan Hellmuth rises above Dryden defenders during Wednesday’s semifinal win. 
Photo by Austin VanDaele Capac’s Jordan Hellmuth rises above Dryden defenders during Wednesday’s semifinal win. Photo by Austin VanDaele Arthur Hill jumped out to a 10-6 lead in the opening minutes, but Drew Knickerbocker absorbed contact while finishing a lay-up and buried the free throw. Nick Jensen then tied the game with a free throw, after being fouled on the block by an Arthur Hill defender with 2:30 remaining in the opening quarter. After an Arthur Hill timeout, Jensen nailed a three-pointer, and Naim Mashni came off the bench to hit a floater in the paint, giving the Lightning a 15-10 lead with under a minute remaining. After a forced turnover, Caleb Albrecht hit a three-pointer from the wing with 0:39 remaining. Arthur Hill buried another three-pointer, but Ian McAllister pushed the ball the length of the floor, spun past his defender and knocked in a mid-range floater at the buzzer, giving Lapeer a 20-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

North Branch’s Nathan Farnsworth goes up for a layup against Yale in Wednesday night’s semifinal. 
Photo by Joe Crawford North Branch’s Nathan Farnsworth goes up for a layup against Yale in Wednesday night’s semifinal. Photo by Joe Crawford Arthur Hill went on a 12-2 run to open the second, taking a 25-22 lead at the 4:07 mark. Carson Butterfield then hit a three-pointer, tying the game. After trading a couple baskets and possessions, Knickerbocker hit another three-pointer from the corner with :31 remaining, giving Lapeer a 28-27 lead that it would carry into halftime.

Arthur Hill once again controlled the first minutes of the quarter and took a 35-32 lead with 4:27 left in the third. Carson Currie then made a bucket while getting fouled but missed the free throw. After getting a stop on the ensuing possession, Albrecht made a pull-up jumper from the elbow to move Lapeer in front 36-35 at 2:03. Arthur Hill answered immediately with a three-pointer of its own and then with a pull-up jumper a possession later, taking a 40-36 lead with 40 seconds left in the third. Albrecht then found Currie for a lay-up after the pair executed a beautiful pick-and-roll on the right wing, cutting the lead to 40-38 Arthur Hill heading into the final frame.

Almont’s Ethan Hall rises over Logan Wilson of Imlay City for a shot during Wednesday’s semifinal game at Cros-Lex. 
Photo by Joe Crawford Almont’s Ethan Hall rises over Logan Wilson of Imlay City for a shot during Wednesday’s semifinal game at Cros-Lex. Photo by Joe Crawford Both teams went scoreless for the first two minutes until Jensen crossed up his defender on the wing in front a ruckus Lapeer student section, sending him stumbling to ground and leaving Jensen wide-out behind the threepoint line. Jensen hesitated, pump-faked and fired a pass to a wide-open Currie under the hoop, who then tied the game with a lay-up. On the next possession, Knickerbocker found Butterfield for another lay-up, giving Lapeer its first lead of the fourth quarter 42-40 with 5:20 left in the ballgame. Arthur Hill again answered with a three-pointer to flip the scoreboard once again and force Lapeer to take a timeout.

Arthur Hill picked up another bucket, before Knickerbocker bullied his defender down low and converted a contest lay-up from the block. Arthur Hill then answered again with another three-pointer, extending its lead to 48-44. Butterfield missed a jumper at the 2:30 mark, but the stifling Lapeer defense forced a turnover on the succeeding possession and then called a timeout.

Out of the timeout, Knickerbocker posted up his defender but missed a jumphook as Arthur Hill corralled the defensive rebound. On the next possession Knickerbocker committed a foul and sent Arthur Hill to the line, where it knocked down a pair of free throws and kept a 50-44 lead with 1:55 left. Albrecht was then fouled on a drive to the hoop and absorbed the contact to make the lay-up but missed the ensuing lay-up to lock the score at 50-46 Arthur Hill.

As Arthur Hill brought the ball up the court on the next possession, Albrecht picked his defender’s pocket at half court and took the ball the other way for a lay-up, cutting Arthur Hill’s lead to two points with 1:23 remaining. Lapeer forced Arthur Hill into a bad shot, but Arthur Hill came down with an offensive rebound, forcing the Lightning to foul and extend the game. Arthur Hill knocked down the pair of free throws, taking a 52-48 lead with 0:49 remaining. McAllister then missed a runner from the paint as Arthur Hill secured the rebound, forcing Lapeer to foul and virtually ending the game. Arthur Hill knocked in both free throws with 10 seconds left, giving the game its final score.

Knickerbocker, a senior, led Lapeer with 14 points.

“Drew has been our go-to guy all year,” said Fisher. “He’s played really well for us, and it’s going to be tough to see him go.”

Butterfield and Albrecht were behind him with nine points each. Currie finished with eight points. Jensen was in foul trouble all night but still managed to finish with four points. McAllister and Mashni each chipped in with two points.

Fisher also noted the exceptional play of Lapeer’s seniors.

“Nick Jensen is also a senior captain, so it’ll be real tough to see him go. You can’t meet a nicer kid. Jimmy Esser coming off the bench for us gave us a great lift, especially the second half of the year. He’s always coaching on the sidelines for us and being positive. Naim Mashni played really great for us. He’s been getting better and stronger. That was his biggest key, to get stronger and not be so timid out there, and he’s played like it. The kid’s athlete so we (like) to get him on the court against their athletes.”

Arthur Hill advanced to the district championship game against Davison, which was played on Friday night after press deadlines.

Lapeer finished its season with an 8-13 overall 4-9 conference record. — J.O.


Almont (15-6) secured its spot in the district final after defeating Imlay City (8-13) 38-26 during Wednesday’s semifinal round at Croswell-Lexington.

The Raiders got off to a slow start which allowed Imlay City to take a 7-2 lead after the first quarter. Almont bounced back and responded with a 9-2 run in the second quarter, however, to take an 11-9 lead going into the half. Following the break, Almont outscored Imlay City 10-5 in the third quarter to extend its lead to 21-14 with one frame to play. The Raiders then closed out the game with a 17-12 run against the Spartans to advance to the next round.

Rafael Farias led Almont in scoring with 12 points to go along with four assists and four steals. Ethan Hall scored nine with four rebounds and Drew Revoldt had six with nine rebounds and four assists. Clay Schapman netted five points with four boards, Austin Watt scored four and Chase Kapron finished with two.

For Imlay City, Noah Galbraith led the way with 10 points. Mitch Allen added seven, Logan Wilson scored six, David Krahn had two and Riley Bertram added one.

North Branch cruised past Yale in the other district semifinal 70-57.

The Broncos took a 24-7 lead after the first quarter and despite a difficult second, North Branch was able to hold on to take the win.

Yale outscored the Broncos 22-11 in the second to cut North Branch’s lead to 35-29 by halftime. North Branch then put the game away with a 23-11 third. Yale then edged out North Branch 17-12 in the fourth, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap.

“We had a great start, had a little speed bump in the second quarter, but came out and had a great third,” said North Branch coach Mike Snoblen. “Adam (Barrows) played his butt off tonight. Great senior leadership.”

Barrows led North Branch with 22 points and eight rebounds. Gerrid Rutledge added 21 points and three assists. Nathan Farnsworth had 19 points and Riley Bugg had six and eight rebounds.

Almont faced off with North Branch during Friday’s district championship following press deadlines. — A.V./K.R.


The LakeVille boys’ season came

to a close on Wednesday night after the Falcons were handed a 54-31 loss against Lake Fenton. Individual stats and scores were not reported prior to press deadlines.

Lake Fenton (7-14) moved on to play Flint Powers (12-10) for the district title Friday. Powers had taken down Goodrich 54-46 on Wednesday and Mt. Morris 77-50 in the district opener. — K.R.


Capac, 16-6 overall, clinched a district finals berth at Dryden Wednesday after beating host Dryden 58-46. Dryden entered the district at 14-6 overall. In the other semifinal, Marlette, 10-9, edged out Sandusky (9-10) 45-42 to claim the other berth. Finals were Friday at Dryden at 7 p.m. after we went to press.

Capac came out of the gate hot and outscored Dryden 13-9 then poured in 19 points to Dryden’s 10 in the second to lead 32-19 by halftime. Dryden tried to cut away at the deficit in the third outscoring Capac 15-9, but Capac had given itself enough of a cushion in the first half and iced Dryden 17-12 in the final stanza.

Andrew Sams led Capac with 23 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Trevor Boers recorded a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds and Jordan Hellmuth had 10 points, six boards and five assists. Thought to be done for the season after a severe injury in Game Nine of the season, Jimmy Schroeder returned and chipped in with three points and eight rebounds. Jake Sawyer had six points, two rebounds and four assists and Jacob Witt had two points and six rebounds.

Dryden was led by Jared Czape, who scored 12 points with four rebounds, four steals and two assists. Brady Czape also scored 12 points, adding three assists, two steals and a rebound. John DelCampo finished with 10 points, and seven rebounds, Jack Kaplan scored six with two rebounds, Hunter Gall had four with two rebounds and Nathan Schenkel scored two. — L.P./A.V.


Mayville’s season came to an end after falling to Kingston 45-24, in its district semi Wednesday. Kingston entered the district at 17-3 overall and Mayville at 7-13. Peck, 16-4 overall, beat Deckerville (8-11) 40-37 in the other semifinal setting up a Kingston-Peck final Friday after we went to press.

Mayville trailed by just five, 11-6 after the first quarter, but Kingston poured in 20 points in the second to Mayville’s seven to increase its lead to 31-13 by halftime. The second half was a low-scoring affair with Kingston outscoring Mayville 6-3 and both teams scored eight in the final frame.

Ashtin Steele had 10 points for Mayville. — L.P.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2018-03-11 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.