By Mark Blentlinger
The Golden Eagles won the tip off but their first 3-point attempt bounced in and out of the rim. Shane Rykse finally put the first points on the board along with drawing the foul, putting Schoolcraft at an early 3-point advantage. Tri-Unity responded shortly after with a 2-pointer. Rykse was fouled again, and able to add 2 more points. The Golden Eagles defense was stingy in the first period, allowing the Defenders of Tri-Unity a total of just 7 points while Schoolcraft racked up 15.
During the 2nd period, Tri-Unity crashed the boards and drew fouls in the paint, allowing them to close the Eagle lead on a 5-0 run. The Golden Eagles’ first points in the second quarter came at the 3:45 point. The 2nd period ended with the Defenders going on a 11-point run to the Schoolcraft’s 7.
Period 3 started with the Golden Eagles still holding onto a small lead of 22-18. Tri-Unity quickly added 2. Shane Rykse was fouled hard under the rim and sank both shots from the line. Both teams had strong plays to add points, and at the 5-minute mark it was Golden Eagles 29, Defenders 25. At the end of 3, Schoolcraft still held the lead 37-30 with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Eli DeVisser.
The final eight minutes showed the determination of both teams to come out the victor. The Defenders wanted to make it a clean sweep on the night since the Tri-Unity JV took the victory over Schoolcraft’s JV. Four minutes left on the clock showed Schoolcraft was only leading by 1, 39-38. The Defenders outscored the Golden Eagles 8-2 and Tri-Unity took the lead at the 2:30 mark for the first time, 43-41. Then Eli DeVisser was fouled and sank the shot. It was a back-and-forth affair for the final 2 minutes. At 1 minute, the Defenders were up again 47-44. At 30 seconds Rykse was fouled, sending him to the line. He shot two and made them, making it 46-47.
With 22 seconds remaining, Tri-Unity had the ball. The Defenders stretched the lead back by 3, 49-46. The Golden Eagles had 7 seconds to get it down the court and score. A mishandled ball by the Golden Eagles and additional free throws by the Defenders ended with the Tri-Unity win, 51-46.
By Mark Blentlinger