State-ranked Kent City edges Morley Stanwood 48-45 in overtime

Morley Stanwood’s Carson Brauher (2) goes up for a shot. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

MORLEY — The championship atmosphere was huge inside the Morley Stanwood gymnasium on Friday, and for good reason.

Kent City was in the house.

The undefeated Eagles entered the game ranked third in the state, Class C, by the Associated Press.

Cody Bowers hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the Eagles (17-0, 9-0) to take a dramatic 48-45 Central State Activities Association Silver Division win over the Mohawks (14-3, 7-2).

With one league game remaining for both the Eagles and Mohawks, Kent City clinched the division title outright.

Kent City won 63-33 over the Mohawks earlier in the season in conference action.

But the rematch was a whole different matter.

“It was a great high school basketball game,” Morley

Stanwood coach Bob Raven said. “It’s sad we had to lose, but I’m proud of my kids. They left it all on the floor. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”

Kent City built a 15-8 lead after the first quarter, but then the Morley Stanwood offense clamped down on the Eagles. Landon Elenbaas’ 3-pointer cut the Eagle lead to 15-13 midway in the second. Carson Brauher’s 3-pointer cut it to 19-16 going into halftime.

“It’s been a focus of ours the last part of the season to lock down on defense,” Raven said. “We’ve been playing a lot better.

Trailing by three at halftime, the Mohawks opened the second half with a 10-0 run, fueled by Brauher, who had 16 points for the game by early in the third. Callen Dillree’s free throws made 28-22 at 2:37 of the third. The Eagles hit two straight triples and a free throw to take the lead. Landon Elenbaas’ 3-pointer made it 32-29 going into the third.

Then it was a back-and-forth battle between the teams. Aiden McLaughlin scored at 5:05 for a 36-35 Mohawk edge. Eli Carlson’s two free throws at 3:18 gave the Eagles a 39-27 lead. Dillree tied it moments later.

The game was tied 39-39 in the final minute. McLaughlin’s scoop shot just fell off the rim with 25 seconds to go and the Eagles went for the last shot. They missed as Zack VanderPloeg grabbed the rebound to send the game into overtime.

Jace Dailey scored at 2:47 of overtime for a 41-39 Eagle lead.

After a defensive stop for the Eagles, Gavin Mead hit the 3-pointer at the other end for a 44-39 edge. Brenden Geers hit a free throw for 45-39 lead. Elenbaas had a drive to cut it 45-41 with 1:06 to play. Elenbaas swished a triple with 45.6 seconds to go to make it 45-44. Brauher made a dazzling defensive play to stop a Kent City shooter from hitting a layup on the other end.

The Mohawks rebounded a missed free throw and McLaughlin went to the line. He hit one of two free throws to tie the game. But

Bowers hit the 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to end it.

“They’re a very good defensive team.” Raven said. “It’s hard to score against them. They’ve held other league teams way down.”

Including the Mohawks in the first game. But it was different in the rematch.

“Kent City is a heckuva team and we played our all,” McLaughlin said. “Their coach said both teams should have won this game. It was that good.”

“We believed we could play with them,” Raven said. “We had a lot of energy this time and knocked down a couple of shots. I think we have a pretty good team now.”

Bowers had 15 for the Eagles. Brauher had 16 for the Mohawks and Elenbaas had 10.

Morley Stanwood is at Greenville on Tuesday.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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