Undefeated Portagers drop Bears

ONEKAMA — With the leaders of the Northwest Conference coming to town, Onekama coach Nathan Bradford expected a tough test Tuesday night for his West Michigan D League-leading Portagers.

But after a 29-point outburst in the second quarter, the out-of-conference clash didn’t prove to be much of a challenge for Bradford’s bunch. Onekama cruised to its seven straight win to start the season with a convincing 77-60 victory over Buckley.

“That was a good second quarter,” Bradford said with a smile. “We didn’t know if they were going to play man or zone, but once we realized what they were in we figured we’d spread them out and take advantage that way.”

The undefeated Portagers spread the floor as well as the wealth, with four players scoring in double figures. Onekama point guard Randy Pienta led the charge with 20 points to go with six assists while Jon Eno netted 19 with seven rebounds, Jarett Sovereign scored 17 with six boards and three steals and Caleb Wisniski added 10 points with six rebounds.

Onekama’s Randy Pienta led the Portagers with 20 points Tuesday night as his team remained undefeated with a victory over Buckley. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Onekama’s Randy Pienta led the Portagers with 20 points Tuesday night as his team remained undefeated with a victory over Buckley. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

“Offensively, they were playing man, so we wanted to spread them out a little bit and (Pienta) got us into our offense, and did a real nice job of working the ball around,” Bradford said. “He took it when he needed to, but found guys when they were open. I thought all the guys worked the ball around well tonight.”

The Bears (5-2) were the first group with the hot hand Tuesday night, as they jumped out to an 18-15 lead after the first. The Portagers, however, were quick to respond — not only with a furry of baskets before the break, but with a smothering effort on the other end.

“I told the guys to be ready, because they’ve beaten a lot of good teams coming in,” Bradford said. “We really had to work on the defensive end and make sure we got a hand up, because they’ve got some really good three-point shooters. 

“I thought we did a really good job of that, then sealing out and getting the defensive rebounds.”

Onekama closed the half on a 12-3 run, which was capped by Pienta’s triple from the top of the key at the buzzer to give his team a 44-27 lead to take into the locker room. From there, the Portagers never looked back.

Aside from a short lived six-point spurt midway through the fourth, the Bears didn’t muster many runs to get back into the ballgame. On the other end, it was Sovereign’s turn to lead Onekama’s offense as the senior scored seven points in the third and 10 in the fourth to help his team cruise comfortably to victory.

“That’s one of the things we’ve been doing: we spread the wealth around,” Bradford said. “If we keep making each other better like that, we should be in every game. If you use each other, no one can key in on one guy.”

The Onekama junior varsity team also kept its undefeated start to the season intact, topping Buckley 65-24 to move to 7-0 on the season. Jayden DeWitt and Jacob Mauntler each scored 15 points to lead the Portagers.

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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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