One team being more prepared than the other was not the deciding factor in Friday night’s District final boys’ basketball game. Both Skyline and Huron came in well-coached and well-prepared. Nor did one team want it more than the other. Both teams REALLY wanted to not only win a District title but knock out their city-rival.
And nor was the talent level the big difference – both teams had strong starting lineups with enough skilled players to win this game.
The difference was in big plays made at big moments late in the game. Remember, this game was tied at 36-36 in the fourth quarter.
And one of the players who made a couple of big plays in the final minutes was a sophomore whose “I’m just glad to be here” attitude has changed over time to “I deserve to be here” and Skyline is benefiting from his surge in confidence.
With 5:09 left to play in a two-point game, Kabir Bergin found himself wide open from about 15 feet away. The Skyline sophomore caught the pass and without hesitation took the shot and pushed the Eagles into a 40-36 lead.
“I set the screen and was open and Jack (Ammerman) had confidence in me so I took the shot.” Bergin said. “They trust me to take the shot if I have it.”
Bergin came up with the defensive play of the game at the other end as he blocked a shot inside and the Eagles gained possession.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Bergin said. “I jumped and I got the ball. There wasn’t a lot to it.”
But Bergin had a lot to do with the Eagles’ 52-47 District title win over a very good Huron team at Skyline HS. Skyline plays Monday against Howell at Salem HS in a Regional game.
Bergin, a tall forward who can both shoot the three and hit the boards, said it felt “great” to win a District title.
“This is my first year on varsity and I’m fortunate to have some great teammates and I’m just so happy to be a part of it,” said Bergin after celebrating with teammates and students in the middle of the court on Friday. “I can’t think of a better group of people to win a title with than these guys.”
Bergin has seen his team play better but “how” means nothing this time of the year.
“We just wanted to win,” he said. “It didn’t matter how we played as long as we got the win. This time of the year is about moving on and that’s what we are doing. Moving on.”
Skyline Coach Mike Lovelace said Bergin is one of the reasons why his team is moving on.
“He has really come up big for us at important times this year,” Lovelace said following his team’s District win. “He knows and plays his role and when he sees opportunities he goes after it. He has really grown the last few months and continues to get more and more playing time.”
Playing varsity as a sophomore is always a tough spot. But if your upperclassman believe you belong, it goes a lot smoother. And the Eagles believe in Bergin.
“His teammates trust him a lot,” Lovelace said. “If he’s open they are not reluctant in getting him the ball. If he’s open they have confidence in what he can do and will get him the ball.”
And on Friday in the fourth quarter, Bergin knocked it down to help the Eagles move on.
“It can be hard being undefeated because everyone wants to be the team that beats you but if we keep our minds straight and playing like we can, we will be fine,” Bergin said.