Comets Claim Victory Over Baldwin in District Semis

March 23, 2020

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

The McBain Northern Michigan boys basketball team took care of business in its division four district semi-final game on Wednesday, March 11. The Comets, battling Baldwin in Marion, were able to turn a small lead at the half to build it into a convincing 50-35 victory. This would have put NMC in Friday’s district final against Pentwater, however that contest along with the rest of the post-season tournaments have been put on hold by the MHSAA due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We knew Baldwin was coming in playing well, winners of their last 11,” head coach Shawn Pattee said. “We started the game in a 1-3-1 zone defense to stop their drives to the hoop and I thought that was effective in the first half. Offensively we tried to take advantage of our mis-matches we had, but we struggled with their ball pressure and getting into our sets.”

The Comets led 8-2 after a low-scoring opening quarter, and had that lead trimmed to 19-17 at the half. NMC pushed that gap back to 34-27 entering the fourth before pulling away by double digits.

“Trevin Winkle got in foul trouble early and that did not help,” Pattee said. “I thought Blake DeZeeuw was able to keep us in the game. At halftime we made the adjustment to man-to-man and playing denial defense on their best player and he did not score in the second half. Offensively, we went to our five-out and just took advantage of the mis-matches again. The whole game I thought we executed our transition offense, we only wanted to push when we had an advantage and did not want to get into a high tempo pace which was to Baldwin’s advantage. Overall, I was very proud of our players and I thought our bench came in and made a huge difference. We continue to be playing solid basketball and we are coming together at the right time.”

Leading the way in the win was DeZeeuw with 14 points, Winkle netted nine and Corey VanHaitsma put in seven.

NMC sits with a 6-15 record as it awaits word on whether the post-season will resume.

“It just breaks your heart for not only our players but all high school athletes, especially the seniors,” Pattee said. “You feel for them and continue to put them in your prayers. I thought our team was truly coming together and ready to make a run in the tournament. We were playing good basketball, we liked the way the tourney was setting up for us. And most importantly our players were getting their confidence up and believing in themselves. Again as a coach it truly is hard not to have closure on our season. However, we have been talking with our players all year about controlling what you can control and this is simply something we had no control over.”

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