By Travis Smola
The Schoolcraft varsity boys’ basketball team had three chances of advancing to the quarterfinal round in the final nail-biting seconds of their regional game against rival Kalamazoo Christian.
But each of the shots from right under the basket failed to go in. The Eagles fell to the Comets by the narrowest of margins, 45-44.
It was a devastating way to finish the season as the Eagles came close to avenging their two regular season losses to the Comets. Head Coach Randy Small said the game was a tough loss, but praised the boys’ resolve in fighting to the end. “The kids played their hearts out,” he said.
Senior Riley Piper led the way in scoring with 12 points. He was closely followed by sophomore Kobe Clark’s 10 points. Senior Jakob Huysken put up nine points and fellow senior Trenton Lomason put up eight including a late three that helped keep the Eagles in the game.
The Comets got out to a fast lead in the first quarter before the Eagles were able to close the gap in the second. In the third, the game became a total dogfight as the two teams traded scoring blows back and forth. Schoolcraft finally took a 33-32 lead to end the third quarter.
But Kalamazoo Christian was able to take the lead right back and Schoolcraft was down 41-38 when it was able to get a key steal. The steal led to a clutch three-pointer by junior Chris Cooper and a tie game 41-41 with 2:18 left in the game.
With just 1:02 left in the game, the Eagles were able to re-gain a 44-43 lead. Unfortunately, those were their last points of the game. Some fouls and free throws allowed the Comets to tie the game again and then take the lead with just 17.6 seconds left in the game.
In the final seconds, Schoolcraft got a shot and two rebounds right under the rim. But the shot wouldn’t go. Time ran out, silencing a formerly rowdy crowd of Eagles Fans.
Small noted a few late calls could have gone either way and some missed shot opportunities in the fourth helped in keeping the game so close. “So many little things affected the outcome,” Small said.
Schoolcraft ends its season with a 17-7 overall record.