Manistee ends season in first round of boys basketball districts

Manistee’s Elmo Sarabia (10) drives past Cadillac’s Keegan Brooks (right) during the Chippewas’ 57-36 loss to the Vikings in the first round of district play on Monday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Elmo Sarabia (10) drives past Cadillac’s Keegan Brooks (right) during the Chippewas’ 57-36 loss to the Vikings in the first round of district play on Monday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee’s run in the 2018 Class B boys basketball state tournament lasted one hour and eight minutes.

In a game in which there were few stoppages, few fouls and way too few Chippewa made baskets, Cadillac defeated Manistee in the district quarterfinals 57-36 Monday night.

The Vikings (14-7) turned the game into a jump-shooting contest, shooting over whatever defense Manistee chose to play, hitting 11 three-pointers in the game and only 10 field goals from inside the arc.

Senior Jacob Gustad led Manistee with 12 points in his last game as a Chippewa, and junior Austin Guenther added eight in the contest, including two of Manistee’s four threes in the contest.

Tipp Baker led Cadillac with 12 points, all from beyond the arc, and Cooper Benson and Keegan Brooks each had 11, with three 3-pointers each in the game.

Manistee head coach Dan Gustad said that he expected the Vikings to come out firing from distance.

“We talked all week long about closing out on their shooters,” Gustad said. “They set some decent screens, and they ran us through some different sets, and we were about a step slow.

“We didn’t quite get the job done on the defensive end.”

On the offensive end Manistee found baskets elusive, even from inside. Thanks in large part to Cadillac’s physical interior defense, the Chippewas found scoring in the paint a difficult task.

“It’s very frustrating,” Gustad said. “They (Cadillac) are a strong, physical team, a good team, but when we play our best, we give them all they can handle. Tonight, shots didn’t fall for us, some breaks didn’t go our way. If you turn just a couple of possessions around, it’s a six- or eight-point game.”

But the frustration was not due to any lack of effort.

“We played together, we played hard, we played gritty,” Gustad said. “Those kids left every ounce of energy out on the floor tonight, and you can’t ask for anything more as a coach.”

Cadillac’s outside onslaught began early, starting and ending the first quarter with long bombs to take a 16-11 lead into the second.

Manistee led briefly in the first quarter, taking a 9-8 advantage on a strong post move by Shane Harrigan with 3:40 left in the quarter, but that would be the last lead that the Chippewas would enjoy this season.

Manistee looked to match Cadillac’s outside shooting in the second quarter, with Jacob Gustad and Elmo Sarabia both finding the range from beyond the arc, but the Vikings drained three in a row, and scored just one two-point field goal, a putback with 1:02 left in the half, but still stretched the lead to 27-19 at the break.

Cadillac opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run, and Manistee replied with two straight buckets, another post move from Harrigan and a fast-break by Gustad, but those would be the only Chippewa points in the quarter.

Two more threes by the Vikings closed out the quarter, Manistee went into the fourth down 40-23 and never threatened again.

The Chippewas end the 2017-18 campaign with a record of 7-14, the best win total for the program since 2011-12.

Despite the tough loss, Gustad said that he will look back on a successful season, and ahead to a bright future.

“We’ve come a long way in the last two years,” he said. “These kids have some pride now, and they understand that they are very close to being the team we need them to be.

“They’re good young men. They do the right thing, they act properly on and off the floor, we’re building young men here, that’s the goal of this program.”

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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.

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