Red Hawks finish second in holiday tournament
Middleville defeats Cedar Springs in 49-48 thriller
After defeating Kent City in the opening game of the second annual Cedar Springs Holiday Tournament, the Red Hawks had only hours to prepare for the championship game the very next day. The challenge for Cedar Springs was to try to slow down 6-foot-8-inch Ferris State bound center Jared Stolicker. In a 9 a.m. practice on game day, the Red Hawks worked to do just that.
Stolicker entered the game averaging 26.5 points and 15 rebounds per game this season. “Middleville is a solid basketball team with the best player we have faced so far (Stolicker),” said Cedar Springs head coach Andy Secor. “Coming into the game he had consecutive games of 38 points and 28 points.” The aggressive Red Hawk defense dug in their heels and held Stolicker to only 12 points and 5 rebounds.
Cedar Springs began the game with four points each from Jason Gingrich and Derek Ash, then an Alec Hanmer three-pointer gave the Red Hawks an 11-10 lead after one quarter. In the 2nd quarter, Gingrich hit a three, then Derek Ash took over. Ash scored eight consecutive points with the towering Stolicker guarding him, outplaying the Ferris recruit. Cedar led 22-19 at the half.
A Tyler Baker jumper started off the second half for the Red Hawks. Then Tyler Covell canned two 3-pointers followed by field goals by Gingrich and Trey Reed. Cedar led 34-33 after three quarters. The Red Hawks opened the fourth with a Gingrich triple, followed by 2 Alec Hanmer lay-ups, but Middleville took the lead with 2:07 left.
Trailing by 2 with one minute left, Cedar failed to score and after a Middleville rebound, were forced to foul. Middleville converted all 6 of their free throws in the last minute. Two pull up jumpers by Gingrich kept Cedar within striking distance, but Red Hawks could not gain any ground as the Trojans made all their free throws. Gingrich converted a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the Middleville winning margin to 49-48.
“We needed to make a few more plays offensively down the stretch to secure the win,” said coach Secor. “In a game like that, all it takes is one less turnover, a made free throw, one more block out, a better play call from the bench, all of those things could’ve made the difference in that game and we were just one play away,” he said.
Gingrich led Cedar Springs with 19 points and 6 assists. Derek Ash had 12 points and 8 rebounds, outshining the Middleville star. Alec Hanmer scored 7 points and had 6 assists in his best game of the year. Covell scored 6 points, Reed and Baker had 2 each.
Despite the loss, Coach Secor found some positives. “The championship game was just a great high school game to be a part of. I thought we played one of our best games of the year,” he said. “I thought the kids executed our defensive game plan very well. Our defense is holding teams to 38 points per game, and that is something we are taking great pride in and trying to carry it over into OK Blue play.”
The Red Hawks continue with OK Blue Conference play when the travel to Coopersvile Friday to take on the Broncos. Game time is 6 p.m.