Ramblers Topple Lake City Before Tourney Shutdown

March 23, 2020

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

McBain continued its late season surge into the division three boys basketball tournament. The Ramblers, fresh off two big wins to close the regular season, were able to top Lake City on Wednesday, March 11, 62-41 in a district semi-final on the Trojans’ home court.

“This win was our third convincing win in a row,” head coach Bruce Koopman said. “Our defense was outstanding, holding all three opponents under 41 and we out-rebounded our opponents and executed offensively like a machine. This team really bought in and made a commitment to play McBain basketball. They played together on both ends rotating defensively, hedging screens, denying forcing players baseline.”

McBain came up short to Lake City last month, but made certain this match-up would go differently as it started with the game’s first seven points and led 16-4 after the first quarter. The Ramblers pushed that gap to 32-11 at the half and held a comfortable 47-25 lead entering the fourth.

“Offensively, the guys were playing unselfish, setting screens working through the offense and doing all the little things that make teams great,” Koopman said. “The boys were very disappointed with the cancellation of the season because they were playing so well and had a chance to win a district championship and perhaps a deeper run after missing out on a conference title. I feel bad for our seniors like George Brown who was playing his best basketball of the season, especially on defense, He sort of became our defensive leader and was a force to be reckoned with inside. Owen Bontekoe was an excellent sixth man who played the game hard, with passion and he had such a great knowledge of the game. Drew Boven decided to play after sitting out last year and provided valuable depth at the point guard position. Ethan Barton really was starting to come into his own at 6’-6” he was a defensive force and very good rebounder. Rounding out our seniors is Kagan Yaklin a big strong young man who came every day to practice with passion, a willingness to get better and learn after playing for the Cadillac Homeschool team last year, but his biggest asset was challenging guys like George and Ethan every day in practice.

“I understand why the season was suspended and truly believe it was the right decision for all reasons,” Koopman added. “For the underclassmen and myself there is always next year, but really feel bad for the seniors because they miss out on the March Madness of the MHSAA tournament and now spring sports where some of them also excelled.”

Leading the way in the post-season win was Daniel Rodenbaugh with 15 points, George Brown III added 13 points, Grayson VerBerkmoes and Kaiden McGillis netted nine each.

“Kaiden perhaps but an exclamation point on the conclusion of the season with a monster dunk during the fourth quarter,” Koopman said. “We finish our season with an impressive three game win streak.”

McBain sits at 16-5 overall, as it waits out the COVID-19 shutdown.

“I told my guys these are lessons in life that prepare us for life, because there will be disappointments and losses unfortunately,” Koopman said. “I will remember this team for how they came together as a team and played some of the best basketball I’ve ever been involved with at McBain.”

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