The 2007 Oscar nominated Paul Thomas Anderson film “There Will Be Blood” is an apt description of the Saline Hornets’ basketball game Tuesday evening against SEC Red Division rival Ann Arbor Pioneer.
“Pioneer should be very happy tonight. They beat a very good team, on the road,” said Saline Head coach Jacob Fosdick, following his team’s 53-48 loss to Pioneer, dropping their season record to 6-4, 1-1 in the SEC Red division.
Prior to the game, Fosdick outlined four keys to winning the game. The Hornets need to keep them off the boards, handle their pressure, control the pace and limit turnovers”
The Hornets played the Pioneers pretty evenly statistically. Ann Arbor out rebounded Saline 25-24. Saline had eleven turnovers. Pioneer had eleven turnovers. However, a big statistical difference was that Pioneer scored twelve points off the Hornet turnovers.
The Pioneers applied full-court pressure throughout the entire game which was handled efficiently by the Hornets for most of the game. When Saline did turn the ball over, it frequently led to points at the other end of the court.
Ann Arbor Pioneer features two players, center Kasean Pryor and guard Drew Lowder, who have committed to playing Division 1 college basketball next year. Lowder led the Pioneers with 19 points while Pryor added 13.
Pryor was benched with five minutes left in the game by Pioneer Head Coach Rich Marion after receiving a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. Pryor had just dunked the ball and while running down the court couldn’t resist taunting the Saline players, and was promptly penalized by the officials.
Senior guard Peter Jacobsen opened the scoring for the Hornets converting a three-point shot to tie the game at 3-3. Junior guard Trevor “Thunder” Arico connected on two shots, along with junior forward Tyler Belskus adding two points cut the Pioneer lead to seven, 16-9 at the end of first quarter.
Jacobsen opened the scoring in the second quarter converting an offensive rebound to cut the Pioneer lead to 18-11. It was the Saline combo of Trevor “Thunder” Arico and Griffin “Lightning” Yaklich to score the next ten points for the Hornets.
Yaklich was covered tightly Pioneer’s Lowder all night. At times the defensive coverage was like Yaklich had an extra set of arms and hands. And in SEC Red Division games, there will very little help from officials, so the Hornets will need to be able to play through the physical play from opposing teams.
Arico converted two free throws with :30 seconds left in the half to send Saline to the locker trailing 28-21.
The third quarter was the “Thunder” & “Lightning” show, as Arico and Yaklich scored all ten of the Saline points. The Hornet offense features continuous motion, with players working very hard to get open looks for their shots. Arico worked hard all night to get shots away, and in the third quarter converted enough to score seven. Yaklich, always the playmaker, picked up two assists in the quarter to go with his three points.
Saline headed into the fourth quarter trailing Pioneer 40-31.
The Hornets managed to cut Pioneer’s lead to five points on the strength of Yaklich and Arico, with senior forward Logan Evans adding three. Yaklich closed out the fourth quarter scoring nine points while Arico added another five, including sinking both free throws from the Pioneer technical foul.
In the end, the Pioneers walked away with a hard-fought, physical game with a 53-48 victory. The loss drops Saline’s season record to 6-4, 1-1 in the SEC Red Division.
“I am never happy with losing but we showed everyone that we play hard and can win games against any team,” said Fosdick.
Fosdick continued, “the team that plays physical will win the game in the SEC. That’s just the way it is. I like that we played very physical tonight.”
The success of “Thunder” and “Lightning” is dependent upon the rest of the team contributing to the team’s success. Against the Pioneers, Peter Jacobsen drew the short straw and was asked to guard one of the best players in the SEC. And he did it all night. Though Lowder scored 19, he was averaging over 26 per game.
Following the game, a Saline fan said to me, “I am waiting for (Anthony) Ferrari to get riled up and get really physical with someone. He plays like he’s not afraid of anyone. And everyone knows it.”
High praise indeed for a sophomore. Perhaps there is another beast in the making.
The Hornets get back into action of Friday night when they host Ann Arbor Skyline, another tough SEC Red Division rival. Game time is 7 p.m.
SALINE POST 3 STARS OF THE GAME:
1st Star: Griffin “Lightning” Yaklich (19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) &
Trevor “Thunder” Arico (19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists)
2nd Star: Peter Jacobsen (5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists & tenacious defense)
3rd Star: Anthony Ferrari (0 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist & great defense)
JV Wins Again
The Saline junior varsity squad defeated the Ann Arbor Pioneers 39-36 Tuesday night in Saline to raise their season record to 9-1.
Though the Hornets were getting quality shots, they were not able to convert them and the Pioneers were grabbing the rebounds, limiting Saline to just one shot.
The Hornets were able to score just five points in the first quarter, trailing 7-5 at the end of the first quarter. Sophomore guard Nicholas Walper hit two three-point shots in the second quarter to cut the Pioneer lead to one, 17-16 at the first half.
JV Head Coach Jason Pickett went into the locker room and said to his players, “we need a single digit quarter.” Pickett believes that if shots are not going in for you, if you play hard on defense, your offense will come from that.
Apparently, his players heard him.
The Hornets came out in the third quarter and were on fire on defense. They out rebounded the Pioneers 10-4, and outscored them 8-3, to take a 24-20 lead into the final quarter.
Sometimes, it is not how many points you score or how many rebounds you grab, it is when you get your points and rebounds. Sophomore forward Luke Darmos scored six of his eleven points in the final quarter, hitting two key three-point shots and grabbing four rebounds. Darmos also blocked two shots to help hold off the Pioneers.
In the end, the Hornets held on for a 39-36 win to up their season record to 9-1, 2-0 in the SEC. They will host Ann Arbor Skyline on Friday night. Tip off time is 5:30 p.m.
SALINE POST 3 STARS:
1st Star: Luke Darmos (11 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 blocked shots)
2nd Star: Nicholas Walper (8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist)
3rd Star: Benjamin Sundquist (6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 offensive rebounds)