PREP ROUNDUP: Bear Lake takes care of business, downs Mesick

BUCKLEY — Bear Lake used smothering defense to walk all over Mesick, 59-20 in their Class D boys basketball district opener at Buckley Monday night.

Trey Gilbert led the way on the offensive end with 22 points, Kaiden Hejl added 21 and Travis Johnson had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals for the Lakers (18-3), who advance to a huge district semifinal matchup against recent tournament nemesis Buckley on Wednesday.

Bear Lake jumped out to a football score of 21-7 in the first quarter and the tennis score of 40-15 at the half, and shut out the Bulldogs (3-18) completely in the third, starting the running clock and putting the game on ice.

“They were struggling beating our press,” Bear Lake head coach Garret Waller said. “They (Mesick) are a scrappy team, they just didn’t put the ball in the hole.”

Buckley (15-5) bounced the Lakers out of the state tournament 72-40 two years ago, and last year’s eventual Class D state runner-up routed Bear Lake twice in the regular season by scores of 90-51 and 73-28, mostly with simply being more physical than Bear Lake, or many other teams, could handle.

Waller said that this team has what it takes to avenge those losses in the district semifinals.

“This team is very talented,” he said. “We’ve just got to do what we did all year and hope for the best. This team has the ability to knock them off. This team is gritty, they get after it, they don’t put up with getting bullied. If they can give some of that back without causing problems, and not fold to it, I think we can play with them.”

That district semifinal, on Buckley’s home floor, will tip off at 7:30 p.m.

Cold shooting dooms Sabers to district upset

ONEKAMA — Manistee Catholic Central ended a good season with a bad loss, falling 60-56 to Walkerville in the Class D district quarterfinals at Onekama Monday night.

Kyle Mikolajczak had a big game, scoring 25 points and Austin VanAelst added 11 in his last game as a Saber in the loss, MCC’s second to the Wildcats in three games this season.

Sabers head coach Mike Feliczak said the difference of the game was down to marksmanship.

“Walkerville shot the ball well, and we really didn’t,” Feliczak said. “That’s basically the story of the game. To be honest, in the last three or four games that’s the way things have been going for us.”

MCC hit just 4 of its 20 three-point attempts in the game, only one of those in the first half, and missed 7 of 11 free throws.

“The toughest losses to me are the game you think you should win,” Feliczak said. “That’s a tough pill to swallow tonight, along with saying goodbye to the seniors.”

John Slivka, Preston Picardat and Andrea Marconi each scored 6 points in the game.

The loss ended a tremendous comeback story for the Sabers, who won just one game all last year, and posted a 13-8 record this season, more wins than the program’s three previous years combined. It was the first winning season for Manistee Catholic boys basketball since the 2012-13 campaign.

“We put a face back on MCC basketball, and I’m extremely proud of that,” Feliczak said. “I’m extremely proud of the kids’ effort. Tonight is a bitter loss, but in a day or two I’ll look back and the kids will look back and say that we had a great year.”

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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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