Sabers trounce Marion at home for WMDL win Saturday

Sabers guard Jalen Tabaczka goes to lay the ball in during Manistee Catholic Central’s 64-27 win over Marion Saturday. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

MANISTEE – Manistee Catholic Central boys bball hosted Marion Saturday in a West Michigan D League Contest. The Sabers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 64-27 win.

MCC’s (11-4, 11-2 WMDL) John Slivka scored the first points of the game off an assist from Kyle Mikolajczak. Mikolajczak converted a 3-point play off an assist from Preston Picardat, and after Picardat scored a basket of his own he found Mikolajczak inside for another score, leaving the Eagles (2-13, 1-12 WMDL) looking up at a 9-0 deficit with 4:38 left in the first quarter.

“We preach a lot of patience on offense,” said MCC head coach Mike Feliczak. “When we have patience and when we move the ball around, we get good shots. The guys are very unselfish, so they have the ability to make good passes and score a lot of assists, and they did that today.”

Marion’s first points of the contest came when a 3-pointer was banked in. Mikolajczak put back an offensive rebound for a score, Picardat converted a 3-point play and Blake Johnson scored from deep before a Marion player split a pair of free throws to leave the Sabers enjoying a 17-4 advantage after one.

It has been hard for area teams to get on the court of late due to the inclement weather, and Feliczak thought that was evident in his team’s play Saturday.

“I thought we executed well,” Feliczak said. “We got a lot of good shots. We fumbled the ball around a little bit and missed some easy shots, but we just haven’t been able to practice or play a lot of games.”

The Eagles scored to open the second quarter before Mikolajczak made a basket inside and hit a pair of foul shots. After a Marion player hit a 3-pointer, MCC closed the half by scoring seven unanswered points when Mikolajczak scored off an assist from Jalen Tabaczka, Mateo Barnett put back an offensive rebound for a basket and Brayden Perkins made a layup after splitting a pair of free throws to put the Sabers up 28-9 at halftime.

Mikolajczak led the Sabers with 23 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. Johnson chipped in with 12 points to go with eight rebounds and Picardat wound up with 11 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and a steal.

Mikolajczak scored to start the second half. After a Marion player made a 3-pointer, Mikolajczak scored off an assist from Tabaczka and Slivka hit a pair of free throws to put MCC up 34-12 with 6:52 left in the third before going down with a leg injury. The Eagles tacked on four more points and Perkins scored two quick baskets in response before Marion scored from deep.

The Sabers scored the last 12 points of the quarter when Picardat found Mikolajczak and Tabaczka for scores before making a layup himself, Mikolajczak scored down low and Johnson and Picardat each made a layup to give MCC a 50-19 lead.

“On the defensive end, I thought we did a really good job playing man and zone,” Feliczak said. “We’re getting better there. … We’ve got a big week coming up, so we’re excited.”

The Sabers started the final quarter as they ended the third: By scoring a lot of points. After Tabaczka split a pair of free throws and Mikolajczak scored inside, Johnson made a layup and hit a 3-pointer to put MCC up 58-19. The Eagles scored five unanswered points, but Picardat and Nolan Fortier responded with baskets of their own. Tabaczka found Johnson inside for the final bucket of the game.

“We played good defense, but Marion’s in a little bit of a down spell right now,” Feliczak said. “It’s a good defensive night, but they’re having a tough year. 27 points is probably what we should hold them to.”

The Sabers next see action at Bear Lake Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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