Mikolajczak nets 42 in Sabers’ victory

MANISTEE — Behind a 42-point performance by Kyle Mikolajczak, Manistee Catholic Central boys basketball overcame a shaky stretch in the fourth quarter to hand Big Rapids Crossroads a 66-56 loss Wednesday in a West Michigan D League showdown.

“Kyle’s going to have huge nights,” said MCC head coach Mike Feliczak. “He’s someone we’re looking to for scoring, for leadership. He’s our dominant post player along with Preston. When he gets going and we get him around the basket he’s unstoppable. He’s a big kid. He’s an athletic kid. He’s a force.”

Mikolajczak scored four points to start the game, putting the Sabers (2-1, 2-0 WMDL) up 4-0 just 30 seconds into the contest. The Cougars (2-1, 1-1 WMDL) answered back with a layup, but John Slivka sunk a 3-pointer, Mikolajczak made a layup and Brayden Perkins hit a 3-pointer to put MCC up 12-2 with 5:01 left in the first.

“We talked a lot about being patient on our offense and running it through,” Mikolajczak said. “We did that well. We worked on our plays and we got open cuts, and we threw the ball to where it was open.”

Crossroads closed the quarter on a 10-5 run that saw the Cougars hit two 3-pointers, leaving Manistee Catholic with a 17-12 lead heading into the second quarter.

The second quarter saw Mikolajczak hitting some mid-range field goals. He sunk a baseline jumper, a 12-footer and a 10-footer to put the Sabers up 26-16 with 3:08 to go in the first half. A 3-pointer by Mateo Barnett accounted for the only Manistee Catholic points in the second quarter not scored by Mikolajczak.

“We did something a little different which we haven’t done in a long time,” Mikolajczak said. “When we broke the press today, we ran a little fast break. We haven’t done that in quite some time, so that was exciting.”

Crossroads hit a 3-pointer and scored some layups late in the half to send the teams to the locker room with MCC enjoying a 30-23 advantage.

Mikolajczak was pleased with the win but believes the Sabers gave up too many offensive rebounds, giving the Cougars second chances to score.

“I think if we can control that aspect by crashing the boards we will be a pretty deadly team,” he said.

Mikolajczak finished the game with 42 points and five rebounds, while shooting 20-for-28 from the field. Preston Picardat led the Sabers in both rebounds and assists with 18 and five, respectively, while scoring three points. Blake Johnson scored nine points and had two assists.

Mikolajczak hit two 3-pointers en route to a 12-point third quarter. Slivka made a layup and Picardat converted a 3-point play to put Sabers up 49-40 going into the fourth.

“They’re a good team,” Feliczak said of Crossroads. “They had a good post player, and their wing player — Britton Angell — is a first-team all-conference returner. I mean, he’s just a flat-out scorer.”

Mikolajczak made a layup and Johnson sunk a 3-pointer to put the Sabers up 54-40 with 7:31 left in the game. After a Crossroads basket, Picardat made a nice pass to Mikolajczak and MCC was winning 56-42 before the Cougars scored 10 unanswered points to make the score 56-52.

“I believe at the time we had the younger kids out there to some extent,” Feliczak said. “I think the heat of the moment was getting to them, but we let them play through it.

“It’s just something that we have to understand,” he continued. “We have to understand the situation of the game, and when they’re making a run we need to slow it down a little bit and maybe play more towards our pace.”

Mikolajczak scored on a fast break before Angell hit two free throws for the Cougars to make the score 58-54. MCC then closed the game on an 8-2 run to seal the deal.

“We kind of let (Crossroads) get into their pace for two minutes there,” Feliczak said. “But that’s part of learning with young kids. And that team wants to go fast and rebound, so sometimes that happens. And they made a good run. … I knew they were going to make some runs and we withstood the run, and hopefully we learned from it.”

While Mikolajczak’s scoring obviously played a huge role in the win, Feliczak was proud of the way the Sabers were able to limit the scoring of Angell.

“I thought we did a tremendous job on (Angell),” Feliczak said. “We held him to 17 points. He’s averaging close to 30. Brayden did a great job on him for most of the game. Preston did a great job on him when he had him.

“And then the other kids did a good job with help defense,” Feliczak continued. “We knew we needed to stop him. That was our goal and I thought we accomplished that.”

The Sabers head to Baldwin to take on the Panthers Friday at 7:30 p.m.

MCC’s JV team lost to the Cougars by a score of 39-36.

Lakers best MCE on the road

CUSTER — The Bear Lake boys basketball team notched its first road win of the season on Wednesday with a 94-62 West Michigan D League victory over Mason County Eastern.

“We pushed the tempo on them,” said Bear Lake coach Garret Waller. “We thought they’d have some trouble with any type of trapping pressure that we put on them, and they did.

“They’ve got a couple good shooters on their team, though, who made a few more 3-pointers than I would have liked, but we figured if we kept running, they’d cool off a bit, and that eventually happened.”

The Lakers (2-1, 2-0 WMDL) jumped out to 22-16 in the first quarter and took a 46-29 advantage into halftime. They kept the foot on the gas en route to a 73-42 lead heading into the fourth.

Bear Lake had been playing shorthanded in the early portion of this season, but Trey Gilbert returned from injury in a big way as he paced the Lakers with a game-high 34 points to go with five steals, five assists and three rebounds.

Zach Belinsky recorded a double-double for Bear Lake with 20 points and 10 boards while adding five steals and five assists. Bradley Novak also returned to action Wednesday night and netted 19 points for the Lakers while grabbing nine rebounds to go with three steals and a block.

“We’ve been playing without three senior starters, so it definitely helped getting Trey (Gilbert) and Bradley (Novak) back,” said Bear Lake coach Garret Waller.

Freshman call-up Jake Griffis also contributed, with nine points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Bear Lake’s junior varsity team fell 56-43 to MCE on Wednesday.

Bobcats tops Mesick for first win

BRETHREN — Brethren boys basketball moved to 1-1 both overall and in the West Michigan D League with a 53-34 home win over Mesick Wednesday.

“We had a lot of missed layups, and we shot 11-for-25 from the free throw line,” said Brethren head coach J.J. Randall. “It’s still good because we had layups. We were executing pretty well and we ran the floor really well, too.

“We created a lot of turnovers from (Mesick),” he continued. “It’s early in the season still, so we’re not making our bunnies. As the season goes on hopefully we’ll correct that.”

Skylar Wojciechowski and Jacob Riggs both scored 14 points for the Bobcats, while Gavin Asiala added seven.

“We did pretty well defensively,” Randall said. We gave up a couple quick buckets in the second half, but we recovered really well.”

Brethren next sees action at Pentwater Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Leave a Reply