It’s all about having a shot in the fourth quarter for the Huron boys’ basketball team in Friday’s District final against undefeated Skyline. Keep it close. Single digits at least. Maybe six points with 6 minutes to play?
The River Rats would sign up for that right now – in fact, it would save everyone a lot of time. Just make it Skyline 56-50 and put 6 minutes on the clock and tip it off. We would all be home for dinner.
But there is no way the Eagles sign up for that. Not a chance. The Eagles aren’t soaring, they are cruising at warp speed at a level few teams ever reach, playing their best basketball of the season. And this, after running the table in the regular season.
The River Rats knocked out the Dexter Dreadnaughts 43-28 as Huron slow played it for most of the night in the second semifinal game on Wednesday. Skyline, on the other hand, had more points after three quarters (72) in the first semifinal game than the total of the two teams combined in the second game (71).
Somehow, someway Huron needs to keep the Eagles under 50 to have a shot? The River Rats have a very good defense and a coach who knows how to mix and match with the best of them.
But Huron Coach Jay Shunnar also sat there before his team’s game against Dexter and watched Skyline do its thing against Romulus. He knows a low-scoring game is their best chance at a victory but he also knows pulling that off is going to be very, very difficult.
“The first win in Districts is always the toughest one,” said Shunnar, after his team beat Dexter. But because Districts are not seeded, that isn’t always the case. Let’s face it, Pinckney had no chance against Dexter and Romulus had no chance against Skyline.
Does Huron have a chance against Skyline?
“Friday night is obviously going to be a big challenge, but (Wednesday) I thought our guys did a great job defensively,” he said. “Dexter is a really good offensive team and I thought our guys bought into what we were doing defensively. I thought we started to come along better in the second half offensively.”
With all due respect to Dexter – a team that did beat Pioneer and Ypsilanti earlier in the season – they are not in Skyline’s class. They are in the hallway with the rest of the teams in the state looking in through the window trying to break down the door. The Eagles are a much better team offensively than the Dreads and Shunnar is well aware of it.
“They have their good offense, their good shooters and they are really in a good flow right now,” he said. “It should be a fun game and I know both teams are looking forward to it.”
The key for the River Rats?
“Stopping all their scorers,” Shunnar said. “They are a high-scoring team and we are giving up 47 points a game so defense has been our strength all season. And we really need to take care of the ball. We can’t give the ball to them. More turnovers means more possessions for them and that can’t happen.”
Skyline plays Huron at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 9 at Skyline HS.