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Fruitport boys fall short at Orchard View in district semifinals

Tribune Staff • Feb 28, 2019 at 1:19 AM

MUSKEGON — The Fruitport boys basketball team's postseason run came to an end Wednesday night, as they ran into resurgent Orchard View squad playing well on their home floor in the Division 2 district semifinals.

A hot start and a strong third quarter weren't enough to put away the Cardinals, as they defeated the Trojans, 56-41.

Gavin Fisher led Fruitport with 10 points, followed by Luke Mitchell and Cameron Schultz each with eight, Marcelo Conklin with six, Ethan Flores with five and Wesley Jones with four.

After picking up their first postseason win since 2005 on Monday over Whitehall, Fruitport came out firing in the district semifinals.

A pair of 3-pointers by Conklin and Fisher paced a 12-9 advantage through the first quarter before the Trojan offense went ice cold in the second.

Orchard View ramped up their defensive pressure to put Fruitport out of sorts, outscoring the visitors 19-5 in the second quarter to take a 29-17 lead into halftime.

The Trojans got back on track in the third with 3-pointers by Flores and Schultz, closing the gap to 41-31 heading into the final frame.

The Cardinals finished strong in the fourth, going 6-for-8 from the free-throw line to pace their 15-point quarter. Five Trojans scored in the quarter, as they tried anything and everything to close the gap. The varied effort amounted to just 10 points, bringing their season to an end.

"We started really well, but we had a stretch of four or five straight turnovers in the second quarter that hurt us," said Fruitport head coach Steve Erny. "They didn't necessarily score off of all of them, but that meant when we did finally break that pressure, we started speeding up on our shots. We probably could have worked the ball around a little more.

"Orchard View is really good at making you play their pace. I don't mind playing fast, but part of winning districts is playing in a great environment like it was tonight and keeping your composure.

"I'm really proud of the guys. We ended our season strong. We really played them, besides that stretch in the second, we played them even. They scrapped it out and fought to the end."

The loss concludes the Fruitport season at 4-17 overall, improving on their 2-19 mark last season and a 0-21 campaign in 2016-17. The measured progress is encouraging to see for Erny.

"It is great to win a game in the tournament to give the guys that feeling that there isn't a gap anymore between Fruitport and the other teams in the district," he said. "We have a lot of kids that are used to going to districts and getting knocked out right away. I think our guys by winning that game Monday gave our guys that hunger and then playing in the game the whole way tonight proves we are improving and hopefully will motivate the team for next year."

Orchard View advances to the district finals to take on Spring Lake after their double-overtime win over Oakridge. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Orchard View High School on Friday.

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