Mohawks outlast Panthers

Morley Stanwood boys hold on for 62-47 win over Hesperia

MORLEY — The Morley Stanwood boys basketball team lost  a couple key offensive pieces to graduation last spring, but the Mohawks still managed to put up points in a 62-47 Central State Activities Association (CSAA) Silver Division showdown against Hesperia on Friday night.

Both teams struggled to find the basket in the opening minutes, with Hesperia taking a 2-0 lead that held until the 4:30 mark on a Nic Huntey layup for the Mohawks.

ELEVATION: Morley Stanwood’s Tom Carey takes to the air for a shot against Hesperia on Friday at Morley Stanwood High School. The Mohawks defeated the Panthers, 62-47. (Pioneer photo/Brady Kenniston)

ELEVATION: Morley Stanwood’s Tom Carey takes to the air for a shot against Hesperia on Friday at Morley Stanwood High School. The Mohawks defeated the Panthers, 62-47. (Pioneer photo/Brady Kenniston)

 

Nic Huntey kept the scoring coming for the rest of the first frame with two transition layups and two 3-pointers to give his club a 17-10 advantage heading into the second quarter as the Mohawks used rebounds and tough defense to take the early lead.

“Right off the bat we established a pretty tough-nosed mindset,” Morley Stanwood coach Josh Bull said. “We defended really well. I think the key to the game was that we were, for the first time this season, handling our own on the boards.

“The whole team rebounded well,” he continued. “Not that I was necessarily worried about (Hesperia’s) interior offense, but I was worried about extra possessions because they can score in bunches real quick. I think controlling the boards and playing good and physical man-to-man were keys.”

Chase Huntey and Nic Huntey each hit triples in the second quarter as the Mohawk offense started to find the rhythm that Bull said has been missing in the first two games this season.

“(Friday) our spacing was the best it’s been in three games,” Bull said. “In the first couple games we were kind of feeling each other out and I don’t think our driving lanes were really there and we had to grind out possessions. But (Friday) we really had the spacing you need to be successful.

“I thought that we were able to get out and run on them, which surprised me,” he continued. “Their transition defense left some gaps so we were able to run our best offense in the second quarter.

“We were just running on them after we got rebounds.”

The deficit stayed at seven points with Chase Huntey putting back a missed triple by Nic Huntey and time ticked down in the half as the Mohawks took a 29-22 lead into the halftime break.

Mike Carey and Tom Carey opened the second half with layups for the Mohawks and another transition layup for Nic Huntey pushed the Morley Stanwood lead into double-digits at 37-26 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

The Panthers wouldn’t go down easily, though, as they rallied after a technical was called against their own Traxton Gordon, cutting the lead to 40-35 heading into the fourth quarter.

“They’re a good ball club. They didn’t want to take what we were giving,” Bull said. “The biggest lead was around 15 and when we had it at 15 I kind of thought that one more bucket might sink them. But they battled back and they were resilient.”

Mike Carey opened the fourth with a coast-to-coast layup to kickstart the Mohawk offense. Nic Huntey followed suit at the five-minute mark with an up-and-under bucket to give the Mohawks another 11-point cushion.

The Mohawks had a 10-point edge with a minute to play, forcing Hesperia to foul.

A flagrant foul on Adrian Castillo gave the Mohawks even more breathing room as Mike Carey knocked down one free throw and Nic Huntey scored a layup on the ensuing possession to give the home team the 62-47 CSAA Silver decision.

Nic Huntey led all scorers with 25 points and added nine rebounds and three steals while Chase Huntey chipped in 13 points, eight rebounds, five assists and six steals and Mike Carey contributed 14 points and four boards in the conference tilt as the Mohawks head into a tough stretch of their schedule during and after the holiday season.

“We’re going to get some good non-league tests (with Kalkaska and Kingsley) over the break and then we open up with Central (Montcalm), who is probably in the top three in the big side of the league,” Bull said. “Then (after the holiday break) we go Lakeview, Big Rapids, Holton and Greenville. So there’s four or five schools right in a row that we’re going to get our money’s worth and the goals in those games is to prepare ourselves for the rest of the season.”

The Mohawks (3-0, 2-0 CSAA Silver) return to action at Kalkaska next Saturday, Dec. 27.

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