Sabers open boys basketball season with 20-point win

Manistee Catholic Central’s Kyle Mikolajczak goes up for two of his game-high 13 points in the Sabers’ 55-35 win over Grand Traverse Academy in the 2017-18 boys basketball season opener Tuesday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee Catholic Central’s Kyle Mikolajczak goes up for two of his game-high 13 points in the Sabers’ 55-35 win over Grand Traverse Academy in the 2017-18 boys basketball season opener Tuesday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee Catholic Central opened up what looks like a very encouraging boys basketball season with an impressive win, 55-35 over Grand Traverse Academy Tuesday night.

Kyle Mikolajczak led the way with 13 points and eight rebounds, John Slivka scored 10 and Preston Picardat recorded a double-double, with 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Sabers, who have already matched their win total from last year.

“We haven’t had too many (wins) around here lately, so everybody’s excited,” MCC head coach Mike Feliczak said.

Despite the lopsided scoreline, Feliczak said that his team could have played a lot better in its first outing of 2017-18.

“We have a lot to work on tomorrow afternoon, before we go to Custer,” he said. “We’ll enjoy it, and tomorrow I’ll be the bad guy and talk about the things we need to improve on.”

After a predictably sloppy first few minutes by both teams, MCC blew the game open with a 16-1 run, starting with 6-footer by Slivka halfway through the first quarter, that gave the Sabers the lead they would not relinquish.

Brayden Perkins and Slivka hit back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second quarter, but the Mustangs found their shooting range late in that stanza, closing the quarter with a 10-2 run to cut the Sabers’ lead to 25-19 at the break

“I think we should have been up more at the half,” Feliczak said. “We didn’t play defense for the last two minutes of the second quarter. It was the first game, a lot of mistakes, unforced turnovers, but I think everybody’s going to go through that in the first game.”

That lapse was short-lived, as MCC came out in the third quarter on a 12-0 run, capped off with an old-fashioned 3-point play by Nolan Fortier, that stretched the lead to 37-19 and essentially put the game away.

GTA scored just 10 points in the third quarter, but three of those came on a half-court desperation heave at the buzzer that made the score 41-29 going into the fourth.

MCC put the game on ice in the fourth quarter with defense, allowing just three field goals in the final stanza to run out with the 55-35 win.

Feliczak said that it was the perfect opener for a coach, a win with lots of teachable moments.

“I’d rather have won and go back to work tomorrow than lose and work on things tomorrow,” he said. “We’ll take it, We’re happy.”

Nick Urso led the Mustangs with 11 points.

MCC will open its West Michigan D League schedule in its next game, at Mason County Eastern on Thursday, Dec. 7.

avatar

Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply