They managed to nearly dig their way out of a deep hole Monday night, but it wasn't quite enough as host Western Michigan Christian dropped their opening Class C boys basketball district tournament game to Saugatuck, 72-65.
The Warriors didn't look ready to play at the start and trailed the Indians 21-5 at the first stop as Saugatuck went on a 9-0 run to start the game. It was 33-21 at intermission and 53-40 going into the final quarter.
A 3-pointer by James Jackson with three minutes left in the game brought the Warriors within four points, 65-61. They were forced to foul the rest of the way and sharp-shooting Saugatuck guard Michael Winowiecki, who finished the night with 30 points, connected on 9 of 10 free throws down the stretch to ice it for the Indians. The Warriors outscored the Indians in the final quarter, 25-19 with 13 of Saugatuck's 19 points coming from the free throw line.
WMC'S fourth-quarter surge was led by James Jackson with eight points, Henry DeKam with seven and Jacob Ray with five. DeKam finished with 17 points, Ray had 15 and Jackson added 11.
“They really came out and executed their game plan and we didn’t do anything to stop them,” Warrior coach Kyle Mastenbrook said.
Saugatuck’s plan was to double-team and at times-triple team WMC's junior post player Bernard Smith, who finished the night with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Wesley Webbert added 19 points for Saugatuck.
“It was the heart of all the guys,” said Mastenbrook of his team’s comeback. “No one wanted this game to end and they all were willing to battle.
“I wish we had a little more of that in the first half,” the first-year coach said.
The Warriors finish their season at 13-8 while the Indians move on to face host Fennville Wednesday in the district semifinal.