The Skyline boys’ basketball team ran into a basketball game on Friday night. Unlike the Eagles’ first two games of Districts where they dominated pretty much from start to finish, Huron wasn’t going to let its crosstown rival cruise into the night with a District championship.
This would have to be earned and earned it was as the Eagles and River Rats were tied at 36-36 early in the fourth quarter when Skyline does what Skyline does best – find a way to win a basketball game. Kabir Bergin and Brandon Wade hit some big shots and Ryan Wade and Jack Ammerman hit some big free throws to give the Eagles a District title with a hard-fought, but well-earned 52-47 win over Huron before a packed house at Skyline.
Brandon Wade finished with a game-high 23 points to lead the Eagles. Jack Ammerman scored five of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, hitting 3 of 4 free throws late in the game. Ryan Wade had seven points, making 5 of 6 at the line in the final quarter. DeSean Munson scored six and Kabir Bergin four for the Eagles.
The two big seniors came to play for the River Rats. Lewis Willis scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half. Avery Lewis scored 12 points. Arthur Caldwell scored all seven of his points in the first quarter. All of the River Rats did a great job on defense, holding the high-octane Eagles to 52 points.
Skyline (22-0) heads to the pre-regional game at 6 p.m. on Monday at Salem High School against Howell (14-8), the District 31 winner. The Regional finals are at 7 p.m. on Thursday also at Salem. The other side of the bracket features Novi vs. Lakeland. The state quarterfinal games are March 20. The state semifinals and finals are March 22-24 at the Breslin Center in Lansing.
Leading 34-33 after three, Ammerman scored to make it 36-33 but Willis nailed a triple at the other end to tie the game at 36-36. Game on.
Bergin knocked down a wide open 15-footer to push the lead to 40-36 with 5:09 to play. Brandon Wade then turned a steal into a layup and a 42-37 lead with 2:40 left in the game.
Bergin came up with the defensive play of the game at the other end as the sophomore blocked a shot inside and the Eagles gained possession. Ryan Wade made two free throws to give the Eagles a 45-37 lead with 1:44 left in the game.
LJ Dewolf hit a triple from the corner to cut it to 45-40. Willis hit another three for Huron to cut the deficit to 50-45 with 22 seconds left. But the River Rats ran out of time and the Eagles celebrated their District title with their huge student section at center court.
The River Rats jumped out early, establishing the fact that they were not going to just roll over. A jumper by Lewis gave the visitors a 6-0 lead.
But the Eagles roared back and really roared (as in the crowd) on a Munson dunk that made it 6-4. A jumper by Ammerman gave Skyline an 8-6 lead – so much for the quick start.
But a three-point play by Caldwell pushed the River Rats back into the lead at 9-8 with 4:20 left in the quarter. A fall-away by Brandon Wade gave the Eagles a 13-9 lead. But a triple by Aayush Unadkat cut Skyline’s lead to 13-12 after one quarter.
Lewis gave Huron a 16-15 early in the second quarter and teammate David Olawale extended it to 18-15.
But Brandon Wade knocked down a triple to tie the game at 18-18 with 3:50 left in the first half. Another triple by the senior guard gave the Eagles a 21-20 lead.
After Willis turned a steal (and it was a great steal) into a layup to give Huron a 22-21 lead, Brandon Wade hit his third triple of the quarter to send Skyline into halftime with a 24-22 lead.
Ammerman opened the third quarter with a triple to give Skyline a 27-22 lead. After Brandon Wade and Lewis traded baskets, Lewis scored again to tie the game at 32-32. The senior then made a huge block inside at the other end that fired up the Huron student section standing behind the River Rats bench.
Brandon Wade silenced the Huron crowd with a jumper to make it 34-32 with 1 minute left in the third quarter.