Onekama edges MCC in low-scoring West Michigan D League battle

Onekama’s Jarett Sovereign (33) shoots over Manistee Catholic Central’s Jordan Kuenzer during Thursday’s game. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate0

Onekama’s Jarett Sovereign (33) shoots over Manistee Catholic Central’s Jordan Kuenzer during Thursday’s game. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate0

ONEKAMA — With several scoreless spells of two to three minutes apiece and a combined 4-of-19 shooting from the foul stripe, it’s safe to say points were at a premium Thursday night in Onekama.

Despite there being lids on both baskets, however, the hosting Portagers emerged with a 37-32 West Michigan D League win over Manistee Catholic Central.

“In a game like this, you’ll take it any way you can get it,” said Onekama coach Nathan Bradford of the low-scoring affair. “Both teams were struggling from the field, so I told the guys to just keep plugging away.

“I thought if we stayed strong on defense and took care of the ball, we’d be in good shape.”

Onekama’s Jon Eno led all scorers Thursday night with 14 to go with eight rebounds while teammate Jarett Sovereign had eight points, eight steals, seven boards and four assists.

The Portagers (4-3, 3-2 WMD) didn’t score their first point until a minute remained in the first quarter, but the opposition wasn’t lighting it up offensively either.

“We didn’t really look to shoot. We were flat, and just didn’t look to attack,” said Sabers coach J.J. Randall. “We need to play a little tougher, a little stronger. We’ve got to play more intense.

“You can’t win a game by just showing up on the floor.”

The Sabers were led by Ben Feliczak with 12 points and nine boards while Jason Kaminski scored 10 with three steals, but the team had just three more players in the scoring column, each with five points or less.

“The kids seem to always be looking for (Feliczak),” Randall said. “Offensively, we need everyone to step it up a bit.”

MCC (2-4, 2-3 WMD) held a 7-4 lead after the first quarter, and Onekama scored the last seven of the second to take a 16-14 advantage into the break.

“The main thing I told them (at halftime) was to keep it simple, don’t try to do too much,” Bradford said. “We had to just run our offense, and take what we could get.

“The guys were a little more patient the second half,” he added. “They worked as a team and used each other, and it worked out.”

The Portagers won the third quarter, but barely. They outscored MCC 5-4 to take a 21-18 lead into the final frame, where things began to pick up.

MCC took its first and only lead of the second half as Blake Vargas netted his first bucket at 4:27 for a 26-25 edge. Onekama responded, however, with an 8-0 run that included back-to-back triples by Jon Acton and Jordan Coe, respectively.

The last minute saw a series of missed free throws on both sides, but, in between, Eno put in a pair of buckets to seal it for the Portagers. Vargas hit a long three at the buzzer for MCC, but the rare swish on this night was too little too late.

“(The lack of offense) was disappointing to see, but then the last four minutes we kind of kicked it in,” Randall said. “We needed to do that sooner.

“Like I’ve said, it’s going to be a learning thing for us.”

The Onekama junior varsity team also topped Sabers on Thursday, 40-26. Hunter Morley and Austin Sovereign each scored nine to lead the Portagers while Blake Robke’s nine points paced MCC.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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