It started to feel like maybe the River Rats were snake-bitten.
Before its game against host Bedford on Friday night, Huron had to deal with the loss of starter Avery Lewis, whose toe injury in the win over Douglass on Tuesday was a little worse than they realized at the time.
Also before tip-off, the recent weather issues had kept the River Rats off the practice floor for two days so there was no time to go over mistakes made against Douglass or prepare for the talented Kicking Mules.
Playing in Bedford is never an easy task. There is the famous line from Hoosiers that can best describe it: “this bandbox you call a gym.” The stands – and fans – are right on top of you and sometimes the lights even don’t work.
And while the lights did go out briefly during the game on Friday night, it was the River Rats who shined brightest with a very impressive 63-57 victory over the Kicking Mules.
“It really felt like everything was going against us but we pulled it out,” said Coach Jay Shunnar. “It was a really good team win. We were without Avery, then had two of our starters get into foul trouble.”
That’s another common theme in Bedford – the calls can sometimes lean toward the home team.
But Shunnar wasn’t complaining about any of it and was glad and proud to get back to Ann Arbor with the victory.
Speaking of Hoosiers, Lewis Willis did a very good Jimmy Chitwood impersonation and led the River Rats with 33 points.
“He can really score and proved it tonight,” Shunnar said of the 6-1 senior guard. “He made a few threes, hit free throws, and he was knocking down jump shots. He was doing a little bit of everything and we really needed him tonight.”
Senior Fred Ezenyilimba came off the bench and scored 13 points for Huron.
“Those two guys scored 46 of our 63 points,” Shunnar said.
Huron trailed 15-13 after one quarter but led 34-31 at the break. The River Rats took a 47-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
The River Rats (3-0) host talented Skyline (3-0) on Tuesday in what should be an exciting city rivalry game between two excellent teams.