Manistee falls to Muskegon Catholic Central

MANISTEE — Manistee boys basketball hosted Muskegon Catholic Central Friday in a Lakes 8 showdown. The Chippewas trailed by 21 at halftime but kept competing, falling 58-45 to the Crusaders.

Manistee head coach Dan Gustad thinks Winter Carnival may have caused the team to lack focus at the start of the contest.

“This is a tough week for the kids,” he said. “There’s so much stuff going on and there are so many distractions — it’s hard for 17- and 16-year-old kids to keep basketball as the main focus. There are so many extracurriculars — the dance and all the other stuff they have with Spirit Week. It’s a tough week for them.”

Manistee (2-14, 0-8 Lakes 8) started the third quarter trailing 33-12. Austin Guenther went off for the Chippewas, scoring all 14 of Manistee’s third quarter points. Muskegon Catholic (10-6, 5-4 Lakes 8) only scored nine points in the final stanza while the Chippewas put up 19.

“I think they finally realized that the only way it’s going to turn around is if we turn it around,” Gustad said. “I challenged them at halftime. I said, ‘Guys, forget about the score. We have to go out and play basketball.’ And we outscored them in the second half. We outplayed them in the second half.”

Guenther led the Chippewas with 20 points. Anselmo Sarabia added nine, Kyle Mantych scored seven and Bishop Davis scored three.

Gustad was proud of the way the team continued to battle in the face of a large deficit.

“It’s tough to play when you’re 20 points behind,” he said. “I give them a lot of credit for showing the resilience to continue to compete, to continue to scrap, to continue to go after every loose ball and those kind of things. That grit in that fourth quarter was incredible. They played their hearts out.”

Manistee hosts Lakes 8-leading Muskegon Heights Monday at 7:30 p.m.

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