Big Rapids tops Fremont; advances to final against Reed City

REED CITY — What seemed like a comfortable lead for Big Rapids turned to anxious moments at the close of the Class B district semifinal against Fremont.

The Cardinals held a seven-point lead with a minute remaining before missing free throws. And when Big Rapids’ Nick Baldwin missed a pair from the charity stripe in a bid to extend the three-point lead, the Cardinal faithful held its breath for the final four seconds.

GOING UP: Big Rapids' Tyler Pellerito goes up for a shot inside against Fremont. (Pioneer photo/Bob Allan)

The Packers grabbed the rebound and Mike Siegel took the final shot. Siegel, who would score 35 points in the contest, came up short and Big Rapids could finally exhale with a 66-63 victory Wednesday night at Reed City High School.

“We were our own worst enemy,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said of the free throw shooting which saw the Cardinals shoot 17-for-35 from the line for the game and 11-for-23 in the fourth quarter. “We had chances to extend our lead.”

The Cardinals were able to grab the lead midway through the second quarter and keep it the rest of the way because of the play from guards such as Dario Williams, Nick Baldwin and Quinn Tyson.

The trio harassed the Fremont guards, making it tough for the Packers to throw the ball low to 6-foot-9 inch center Lucas McKian.

“Our goal was to keep the ball away from their big guy and I thought our pressure up front was the key,” Ingles said.

Another key, especially in the first half, was the play of Tyler Pellerito.

The junior averages six to seven minutes a game, but on Wednesday, saw extended minutes due to foul trouble.

Pellerito finished the game with eight points and six rebounds.

“I was just trying to help my team,” Pellerito said. “I don’t focus on myself, I just try to give the team some energy and fill the spots that I need to fill.”

Big Rapids pushed the lead to as many as 11 points throughout the third quarter, including at the buzzer when Baldwin hit a 3-pointer from just within halfcourt to give the Cardinals a 47-36 advantage.

Baldwin finished with 20 points, while Tyson and Jake Daugherty netted 12 points apiece. Williams finished with 10 points for Big Rapids.

The Cardinals were able to keep Fremont off balance through most of the second half due to out-rebounding the taller Packers. Big Rapids out-rebounded Fremont 38-34 with Daugherty grabbing 17 boards.

“(Daugherty) was a man on the boards,” Ingles said. “I don’t care what level you are playing, 17 rebounds is a man’s job.

“I thought our guards got some rebounds and that helped us,” he continued. “All the rebounds were important for us.”

 

BIG RAPIDS 66, FREMONT 63

Big Rapids 11 17 19 19 — 66

Fremont 11 11 14 27 — 63

Big Rapids

Nick Baldwin 5(2) 4-14 20, Dario Williams 3 4-6 10, Quinn Tyson 3(1) 3-5 12, Eric Boyd 1 0-0 2, Austin Brinker 1 0-2 2, Tyler Pellerito 4 0-0 8, Jake Daugherty 3 6-8 12, Totals 20(3) 17-35 66.

Fremont

Nate Torrey 0 0-1 1, Robbie McPherson 1 1-4 3, Mike Siegel 5(6) 7-10 35, Mike MacLean 2 3-3 7, Dylan Krim 1(1) 5-6 10, Lucas McKian 2 3-4 7, Totals 11(7)18-28 63.

Rebounds — Big Rapids 38 (Daugherty 17, Pellerito 7), Fremont 34 (Siegel 9). Assists — Big Rapids 11 (Baldwin 4), Fremont 5 (Krim 3).

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