Cards ready for quick turnaround

UP FOR TWO: Big Rapids' Quinn Tyson (15) splits the Reed City defense during Friday night's boys basketball contest. (Pioneer photo/Bob Allan)

Big Rapids  faces Sparta in regional semifinal tonight

BIG RAPIDS — Winning a boys basketball district championship does have a drawback — a quick turnaround.

Big Rapids won its first district title since 1987 with a 59-57 victory over Reed City on Friday night. Three days later, the Cardinals will be competing in the Class B regional semifinal against Sparta on the Spartans home floor.

“After winning a district, especially the first one in a few years, the kids need some time to take that in,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “Because we play (Monday) we had practice on (Saturday) for an hour and a half and it was terrible.”

Big Rapids can take a bit of comfort in knowing it is not alone.

Sparta won its first district in more than 30 years after defeating Tri County by 18 points in the district final at Belding.

The Spartans have three quick guards and a post player, Lucas Marble, who is relentless on the boards, Ingles said. Sparta likes to play an up-tempo style of game and rely on its athleticism.

“They want to go, go, go and we don’t exactly walk the ball up the court and pass the ball 15 times,” Ingles said.

The key to the game, as it is for most of the season for the Cardinals, is being able to stop Sparta’s ability to get to the paint and being able to rebound.

“It is the same stuff that we have been talking about all year,” Ingles said. “We have to stop their penetration and we have to be able to rebound. How often can you get after them about that without them tuning you out?”

The winner of the Big Rapids-Sparta contest will face the winner of the Muskegon Heights-Hemlock contest on Wednesday night. The Cardinals faced the Tigers earlier this season, losing by 18 points.

In that contest, Big Rapids led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter before Muskegon Heights came back and won.

“(Muskegon Heights) is quicker at every position, but I would love to have the chance to play them again,” Ingles said.

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