Manistee falls to Frankfort in season opener

Manistee’s Matthew Kneidl floats up a shot during the Chippewas’ season-opening loss to Frankfort on Tuesday. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Matthew Kneidl floats up a shot during the Chippewas’ season-opening loss to Frankfort on Tuesday. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — It’s not how you start, but how you finish, the old saying goes. Unfortunately, Manistee boys basketball had both a slow start and a rough finish which negated excellent second and third quarters in the Chippewas’ 47-44 season-opening home loss to Frankfort Tuesday.

“I think that we almost played like we won the game at the end of the third quarter,” said Manistee head coach Dan Gustad. “Then we played pretty lackadaisical for four minutes in that fourth quarter and let them back into the game.

“It should have been the other way, where we turn up the intensity a little bit and bury them a little more to make sure that they knew they weren’t coming back,” he continued. “It’s a learning thing. We haven’t been in that situation a lot, but it’s something we’ll learn from.”

The Chippewas (0-1) had their chances at the end. With Manistee trailing 44-42 with under 30 seconds to play, Anselmo Sarabia hit Austin Guenther for a corner three attempt that just missed. Frankfort’s (2-0) Luke Hammon split his free throws following an intentional foul and Manistee’s Andrew Jackowiak made a layup to make the score 45-44.

“We have to work on a lot of stuff,” said Frankfort head coach Dan Loney. “Obviously, our free throws. I think we shot about 50 percent from the free throw line. It was actually 12 for 25, so we’ll be working on our free throws and situational stuff.”

Panthers player Jack Stefanski sunk his two free throws to give Frankfort a three-point lead, and a desperation 3-pointer by Sarabia was on line but fell short to close the game.

“Close games like this are good for teaching,” Loney said. “You know, late in the game, or when you want to get certain scores or certain defensive stops, games like this really help you improve throughout the season and through districts, so you always try to use these games to gear up for the future and that’s what we’ll do.”

Manistee trailed 17-10 to start the second quarter but cranked up the defensive intensity, with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer by Stefanski accounting for all the Panthers’ third-quarter points.

“We put that half-court trap in earlier this year and the kids really like running it,” Gustad said. “The sad part about it is, we got enough turnovers to win but we didn’t convert. We had a lot of times where we went down and we’d turn the ball over ourselves.”

The Chippewas closed the quarter with a 7-0 run, during which Keaton Connell hit a 3-pointer, Guenther converted a layup and Matthew Kneidl sunk a floater to send the teams to the locker room with Frankfort up 22-19.

Frankfort’s first points of the third quarter didn’t come until Stefanski scored a layup with 1:25 on the clock. By that time, Manistee held a 31-24 advantage. Sarabia hit a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Chippewas a 36-28 lead heading into the final frame.

“Manistee did a really good job,” Loney said. “… They were jumping back and forth between about three different defenses. They were doing a little half-court trap, they played some zone, they played some really good man-to-man.

“They have good athletes,” he continued. “They were long and getting in the passing lanes. They did a really good job on defense, so kudos to them on that.”

Connell paced the Chippewas with a team-high 13 points. Kneidl added eight points while Sarabia and William Elbers each scored six.

“I think we did all right, but we could have done better,” said Manistee’s Bishop Davis. “Our rebounding and boxing out in the first half was not good. The third quarter was all right but in the last quarter we just couldn’t get it done.”

A 3-point play by Elbers put Manistee up 8-5 with 4:48 left in the first quarter. Frankfort closed the quarter with a 12-2 run, with Will Newbold scoring the Panthers’ final six points and punctuating the quarter with a put-back layup with one second on the clock.

“Our guys stayed composed and weathered the storm,” Loney said. “Basketball is a game of runs, so when one team gets a run, you kind of have to weather the storm and hopefully we get a chance to make our run and it worked out for us.”

The Chippewas next see action with a game at Muskegon Orchard View Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Portagers top NMC

ONEKAMA — A strong performance by Taylor Bennett allowed Onekama boys basketball to hang on and top Northern Michigan Christian 44-35 at home Tuesday.

“I thought the start of the first half we came out and the defensive intensity was there,” said Onekama head coach Nathan Bradford. “It took us a while to get a few shots to drop, but the second quarter we came out and made a little run and got up on them.”

The Portagers (2-0) started the second half enjoying a 28-11 advantage over the Comets (1-2) before faltering slightly.

“We came out and it seemed like we couldn’t find the basket in the third quarter,” Bradford said. “Then, Taylor picked us up in the fourth quarter and had a nice quarter. Other than that, the second half seemed like it was a little sluggish. I know the guys are still trying to get their legs under them and it’s early in the season yet.”

Bennett led Onekama with 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Ben Acton filled up the stat sheed with five points, four assists, six rebounds and three steals while Wade Sedlar added 12 points, five boards and two steals.

The Portagers host Leland Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Leave a Reply