Huron defeated Saline, 62-49, in boys’ varsity basketball action Friday, when it was senior night Friday at Saline High School. In a pregame ceremony, the two seniors on this year’s team, captain Peter Jacobsen and Logan Evans, were introduced, with their parents, to a standing ovation from the hometown crowd.
Jacobsen and Evans, who have started every game this season, waved to the crowd as they got ready to play their final home game as a Hornet.
The Hornets would face the Ann Arbor Huron River Rats and the team looked determined to win one for the seniors.
The River Rats played their usual aggressive style from the outset. The River Rats pressured the Hornets from start to finish. They played very aggressive on defense. They had their hands on the Hornets all evening. They contested every shot. They tried to trap the Saline players with double teams all evening.
Yet, the Hornets remained within striking distance for most of the game.
They trailed the Rats 17-13 at the end of the first eight minutes on the strength of the shooting of Trevor ‘Thunder’ Arico and Griffin ‘Lightning’ Yaklich. The pair combined to score 11 of the teams’ 13 first quarter points.
Yaklich scored the first two points in the second quarter before picking up his second foul and heading to the bench with 6:01 left.
At the 5:40 mark Jacobsen sank a nice three-pointer to cut the Huron lead to two, 20-18. Evans followed that shot with a three-pointer of his own to give Saline a 21-20 lead.
For the final 3:30 of the quarter, it was all ‘Thunder’ as Arico had the hot hand. He scored Saline’s final ten points of the half, sending the team to the locker room trailing 33-31.
Huron opened the third quarter with a 6-2 run. Yaklich, back in the line-up, opened the scoring nailing a three-point shot from the top of the key. Twenty seconds later, Evans converted om a short jumper to cut into the River Rat lead, 41-36.
Evans and junior forward Tyler Belskus scored the final five points to send the Hornets to the fourth quarter trailing 45-41.
Evans hit another three-point shot with 7:23 left to cut the Huron lead to 46-44. And just when you begin to think that all is right with the world, disaster strikes.
The River Rats went a 16-0 run to blow open the close game. The Hornets’ shooting went cold and when Belskus finally broke the scoring drought, the damage had been done. Yaklich scored the final three points for the Hornets as Huron walked off with a 62-49 win. The loss drops Saline’s season record to 10-9, 4-6 in the SEC Red Division.
“The more physical team won tonight,” said Saline Head Coach Jacob Fosdick. “We hung tough with these guys tonight but just haven’t been able to finish games this year. We’re just not there yet.”
The Hornets will travel to Adrian next Friday to close out the regular season. Game time is 7 p.m. The district playoffs being on Monday, Feb. 25 against the Ann Arbor Huron River Rats. The district playoffs will be played at Belleville High School.
“Each game we play, the team learns more,” Fosdick continued. “We can use practice to develop a game plan for Adrian next week. But the team will also work to prepare for our next chance against Huron in the playoffs.”
While the Hornets fell short against the River Rats, the real story of the night was about two young men who stood in the gym following the game to take it all in.
Peter Jacobsen and Logan Evans walked out of the locker room for the last time. It was a scene replayed many times before in years past.
Young men who are proud to call themselves Hornets.
Following the game, each had a chance to share what it was like to walk out of the locker room for the last time.
“It was awesome. And it was a lot of fun,” said Logan Evans. “Baseball is my sport and I could have spent the entire winter trying to get better at baseball. I sacrificed baseball a little but playing with my friends, in front of the crowds, the community, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
“The last four years, basketball has meant everything to me,” said senior captain Peter Jacobsen. “It is hard to believe it is over. My teammates, Coach Fosdick, everyone, they are family.”
In the moments following the game, Jacobsen struggled to find the words to describe the reality that was slowly sinking in. For him as a Saline Hornet basketball player, it would soon be coming to end.
And as tears came to his eyes, he looked around the gym he had called home for four years, trying to say goodbye.
On behalf of your classmates and the greater Saline community, Peter and Logan, thank you.
SALINE POST 3 STARS:
1st Star: Peter Jacobsen (3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist)
Logan Evans (13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist)
2nd Star: Griffin ‘Lightning’ Yaklich (16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists)
3rd Star: Trevor ‘Thunder’ Arico (12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
JV HOOPSTERS LOSE TO HURON 55-43, RECORD DROPS TO 15-4
The Huron River Rats closed the first quarter on a 12-3 run to take a 14-5 lead. The Hornets and Rats were tied at 2-2 with 6:50 to go in the opening quarter. The Hornets fell behind and never caught up, losing 55-43, dropping their record to 15-4 on the season.
Timely shooting and rebounding by Huron kept them in the lead as the Hornets mounted a comeback attempt in the second quarter. Led by sophomore Nicholas Dils and Luke Rykard with freshman Evan Merillat, the Hornets outscored Huron 13-9 and cut the Huron lead to five at the half, 23-18.
Sophomore Eli Trese opened the third quarter hitting a three-point shot, to cut the lead to 25-20. Dils sank two baskets, along with sophomore forward Luke Darmos and Merillat to cut the lead to 35-31. Huron then went on a 7-0 run to close out the quarter and take a 42-31 lead into the final quarter.
Sophomore guard Nicholas Walper hit a three-pointer to open the scoring in the final quarter, followed by another three-point shot by Merillat. Following that bucket by Merillat, Huron then had another 7-0 and that put the game away.
Following his team’s loss, JV Head Coach Jason Pickett couldn’t find the words to describe what had just happened.
“We didn’t play our best game tonight. We made too many mistakes,” Pickett said. “We were just looking at the floor tonight rather than looking for each other.”
The loss drops the JV record to 15-4 on the season. They will close out their season next Friday when they travel to Adrian. Tip off time is 5:30 p.m.
SALINE POST 3 STARS:
1st Star: Evan Merillat (12 points, 1 assist)
2nd Star: Nicholas Dils (9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists)
3rd Star: Eli Trese (8 points)
FRESHMEN TEAM DOWNS HURON 65-55, RECORD GOES TO 16-3
The Saline Hornet’ freshmen team used balanced scoring to swarm the Ann Arbor Huron River Rats 65-55 Friday night at Saline High School. The win moves the team’s record to 16-3 on the year.
The team will travel to Adrian next Friday to close out their season. Game time is 4 p.m.
SALINE POST 3 STARS:
1st Star: Gavin Mesman (21 points)
2nd Star: Joshua Koch (10 points)
3rd Star: Eric Wood (9 points)