Northwestern tourney begins with full slate, no surprises
Event did lose one participant, so only two games tonight (Tuesday), Wednesday
MENDON — The only action among C-T-area high school basketball teams last night (Monday, Nov. 30, 2020) was four first-round contests in the 65th-annual Northwestern Invitational Tournament at Mendon. All four produced the expected results.
In girls’ play, top seed Meadville romped past short-suited Hale/Bosworth 77-10 and No. 3 seed Linn County bested Brunswick 45-37. On the boys’ side, Meadville – seeded second, but minus one of its top returnees – had a bit of trouble with Linn County before prevailing 54-43, and No. 4 seed Hale/Bosworth cranked in eight 3-pointers in routing Brunswick 62-37.
With planned participant Bucklin/Macon County R-4 having begged off late last week, two of Tuesday’s would-be quarterfinal games became forfeits to Green City. As a result, the top-seeded GCHS Gophers already are known as the championship-semifinal foe for Hale/Bosworth Thursday at 5:45 p.m., right after the Lady Gophers, the No. 2 seed, tangle with Linn County at 4:30.
Tuesday’s tourney slate at Northwestern has both host teams involved. The Lady Eagles will go against No. 4 seed Higbee at 5:45 p.m. and the third-seeded NHS Eagles will meet Higbee right after. Each winner will oppose Meadville in Thursday’s semifinals – the girls’ game at 7 p.m. and the boys’ at 8:15.
In non-tourney area play scheduled for tonight (Tuesday, Dec. 1) – all action subject to possible adjustment, postponement, or cancellation, due to COVID-19 complications, Breckenridge and Tri-County are to begin their new seasons at Jamesport, Tina-Avalon is to visit Alma: Santa Fe, and Hardin-Central is to call on Polo for their round-robin games in the Gallatin Invitational Tournament.
With Drake Heussner and Tristian Crose each finding the mark from 3-points land three times and forward Jaeden Sears powering in nine points in the first quarter only two nights after completing the football season with Southwest Livingston, Hale/Bosworth’s Cardinals debuted with a runaway, 25-points win over Brunswick.
Sears scored nine of the Cardinals’ 11 first-stanza points, keeping the game even going to the second, where Hale/Bosworth caught fire from outside. The eventual winners buried four treys in the second period to jump to an 11-points halftime lead and kept going from there.
Heussner finished with a team-best 20 points, Sears with 18, and Crose with 17. Brunswick’s Gus Kussman led all scorers with 21.
With Trey Gannan and others unavailable, Meadville’s boys (2-0) needed a strong second half to prevail over their in-county rivals.
Turning to veteran Conner Fletcher, the Eagles doubled their first-half scoring output in the third quarter, turning a 24-22 intermission deficit into a 44-35 lead and essentially maintaining that spread the final eight minutes.
Fletcher fired in 16 third-period points – six deuces and 4-of-4 free-throw work – on his way to a game-best 26 points. However, there was decent scoring depth behind him with Riley Ryan netting eight points and Blayne Burks and Parker Hammond seven apiece.
Linn County’s Mustangs, in their opener, received 13 points from veteran Cody Murrell and had either five or six markers from a handful of others as their upset bid fell short.
Led by Mallory Dennis’ 17, all nine Meadville Lady Eagles (2-0) who dressed out scored at least three points. The MHS snipers connected 10 times from beyond the arc with seven of the nine Lady Eagles doing so once or twice.
In addition to Dennis’ 17 tallies, Kiera Holcer netted 13 and Maggie McLain 11. Lilly Raymo chipped in eight.
Already hurting from graduation losses, Hale/Bosworth, which had to scratch two of its seven team members for its 2020-21 debut, received seven points from Karter Burnside.
Only four Linn County Lady Mustangs got into the scoring column, but all had at least eight points in the 8-points triumph over Brunswick that tipped off both sides’ seasons.
LCHS led only 21-19 at the half after a dead-even opening stanza, but seven Jenna Hoerrmann points keyed a 12-5 third-quarter advantage for the Lady Mustangs and they remained in front by about that gap.
Hoerrmann posted a team-leading 14 points, but Morgan Livingston chipped in 12, Alyssa Bukovac 11, and, off the bench, Martha Brosdahl eight. Brunswick returning starter Addi Riley paced all scorers with 19.