Pine River falls short in semifinal loss to New Lothrop

takedown: Joe Rigling (right) of Pine River focuses on his New Lothrop foe. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

TAKEDOWN: Joe Rigling (right) of Pine River focuses on his New Lothrop foe. (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

MOUNT PLEASANT — Pine River put itself in a strong position on Saturday to win its Division 4 state semifinal match against New Lothrop.

The Bucks were leading 26-19 with three weight classes remaining, but New Lothrop rallied with 13 unanswered points to walk away with a 32-26 victory and end Pine River’s season at 31-5. New Lothrop, 16-8, was defeated 51-3 in the final against Hudson at Central Michigan University’s McGuirk Arena.

When Raden Holmes (215) pinned Gavin Patterson in 1:03 and Bryan McCurry (285) edged Cameron Dusenberry 1-0, it gave the Bucks the seven-point late-match lead.

The Bucks presented three talented wrestlers in the final three matches, but New Lothrop’s were a little better this particular day.

Logan Wollford (103) pinned Holly Bailor in 1:36, Logan Zell (112) edged Dylan Stephens 4-2 and Tommy Malloy (119) defeated Tyler Signor 13-3.

New Lothrop had lost to Pine River during the regular season.

“Guys that got pinned the last time we wrestled that team didn’t this time,” New Lothrop coach Jeff Campbell said. “At 112, Logan Zell lost 8-1 to the guy last time. This time, he wins a last second locked hands (escape move). He wrestled a smart match.”

But Pine River also won its share of key matches.

“It was a game of inches with them,” Bucks coach Tim Jones said. “At the end of the postseason you have to be ready for the game of inches and win them.”

The 112-pound match may have been a key one, “but it’s not just that one,” Jones said. “It’s always that fumble at the end of the game that you see. But you have to see the little mistakes here or there that led up to that.”

Going into the final three matches, “we were very confident,” Jones said. “We knew that’s what it was going to come down to. It was not just that one mistake.”

The Bucks started off with an 8-0 lead with decisions for Jacob Roberts (125) 12-2 over Austin Barnette and Andrew Park (130) over Connor Krupp 16-5.

New Lothrop won the next four matches to take a 13-8 lead.

Pine River came back with a 9-4 decision for Joe Ringing (160) and a pin for Tim Rizor (171) in 5:02.

Rizor, a freshman, also had a key pin in Pine River’s quarterfinal win on Friday.

Rizor’s pin made it 17-13, Pine River. The Bucks made a strategic move at 189 with a forfeit to get a better matchup at upcoming classes.

It appeared the strategy worked with Holmes and McCurry able to get wins for the 26-19 lead.

It was the final team match for seniors Bailor, Justin Cole, Tucker Fansler, Joe Ringling, Raden Holmes and Andrew Frisbie.

“It was a great group of seniors,” Jones said. “It’s sad to see them gone. They’ll be hard shoes to fill like every year. We have some good young kids coming up. We have great team cohesiveness. They’re a great group of kids to be around.”

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Posted by John Raffel

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

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