By Mike Larson
t’s hard for me to pinpointthe exact moment that Irealized the Huron basket-ball team was unstoppable.It might have beenlast year during the Class Aquarterfinals against SaginawArthur Hill when, trailing theLumberjacks by double digitswith less than five minutes togo, Huron came back and wonthe game 63-58.It might have been ear-lier this season when the teamdefeated Detroit Cass Tech andthen followed the victory upwith a win over Dayton (Ohio)Dunbar (last year’s Division IIstate champion).One thing is certain though,the Pioneer basketball fansseemed to realize that Huronwas unstoppable on Fridaywhen the River Rats defeatedthe Pioneers 60-44.The reaction of the Pioneerfans seemed to pinpoint therealization to a possession inthe third quarter.After trailing Huron by justthree points at the half, it lookedas if the two teams were prettyequal.However, the Pioneer crowdwas silenced in the third quar-ter.The particular possessionthat seemed to kill the Pioneerfans had Huron’s Andre Bondbring the ball up the floor andpass it to Mike Lewis. Lewisswung the ball around theperimeter to teammate MattHastings in the corner.Hastings spotted up, and letgo of a high, arching shot thatsplashed silently through thenet.Huron fans roared, Pioneerfans looked around at oneanother, seemingly dumb-founded.Their mouths were quiet, buttheir faces said it all.
When are they going to miss? They can’t keep this up forever,right? But we beat them here last year!
Hastings’ three-pointer waspart of a 22-5 run the River Ratshad in the third quarter of thegame.Huron’s dominance isn’t new.This story isn’t groundbreak-ing.But, like me and the Pioneerfans, a lot of people are startingto take notice of the fact thatwhen the Huron basketballteam shoots well, they cannotbe beaten.“As important as defenseis, and we stress defense andrebounding in every singleminute of every practice, youstill got to put that ball throughthe hoop,” Huron coach WaleedSamaha said. “When the ballgoes through the hoop for you,you get a little more bounce anda little more energy. There’s apsychology behind that as well.”Samaha might be focusingon psychology, but here is somesimple math: Huron+shootingwell=wins.That’s it. That is the recipefor success for the River Rats.Sure, Huron needs to keepplaying the kind of defense thathas made them a household
Huron boys and girlsbasketball teams defeat Pioneer in rivalry games
January 27, 2011Heritage Media
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River Rats rejoice
Photo by Jonathan Knight/A2 JOURNAL
Huron’s A.J. Mathew goes up for a shot while Pioneer’s Jimmy Holman tries to make a block.On Friday the two rival teams met at Huron, and the host team won, 60-44.
By Mike Larson
Last season, the Pioneerboys’ basketball team cameinto the Green House atHuron and defeated the RiverRats on their own court.On Friday night, Huronmade sure there wouldn’t bea repeat performance of the2010 affair.Huron hosted cross-townrival Pioneer, and the RiverRats took it to the Pioneers,winning 60-44.“Lastyear we letup and theycame in hereand beatus,” Huronsenior KyleBaker said.“We weren’tgoing to letthat happenagain.”In the firsthalf, thegame wasclose as bothteams playedwell.In fact, as the half ended,it looked as if Pioneer wasgoing to take the momentum.In the final seconds of thesecond quarter, Pioneer’sDarien Hill slammed down ahuge dunk to make the score27-24 in favor of Huron.However, when the gamestarted again after the break,it was Huron who took over.The River Rats went ona 22-5 run in the quarter totake a 49-29 lead as the fourthquarter started.Huron never looked backafter that, cruising to a bigwin.“We came out and did alot of good things and I washappy with the effort,” Huronhead coach Waleed Samahasaid. “We lost this game lastseason, and I thought ourteam responded well.”Conversely, Pioneer headcoach Rex Stanczak said histeam couldn’t have playedmuch worse on defense.“Our defense just didn’t showup in the third quarter,”Stanczak said. “Huron playedwell and ran the offense weknew that they would. Butwe missed a lot of switchesand we missed some slips and(Huron) took advantage.”With the win, Huronimproves to 8-1on the season,while Pioneerfalls to 7-2.Huron’sDante Williamswas the game’shigh scorerwith 14 points,while Bakeradded 10. OtherRiver Rat scor-ers were MikeLewis and A.J.Mathew withnine points,Andre Bondand Matt Hastings with six,Jeff Hugan with four andJesse Buchsbaum with two.Pioneer was led byJeremiah Strode who scored10 points and James Kellywith nine.“It’s a big win for us,”Lewis said. “We knew weneeded this one, and wegot it. I thought we did agreat job of playing like ateam and getting everyoneinvolved. Overall, I was justreally happy with the way weplayed.”Both teams will be back inaction and on the road tomor-row with SEC showdowns asHuron will travel Saline andPioneer will go to Bedford.
Mike Larson can bereached by email atMlarson@A2Journal.com.
“Last year we let upand they came inhere and beat us.We weren’t going tolet that happenagain.”
Huron girls’ use depth to outlast Pioneer
By Mike Larson
Going into Friday night’s game against Pioneer, theHuron River Rats girls’ basketball team had been lessthan impressive.“We have to play better,” Huron coach SteveVinson said after the team’s game against Chelsea onTuesday. “We have to do a better job. We are learning,but if we want to be successful in this league, we haveto focus more.”On Friday, the River Rats did plenty of focusing.They also did plenty of scoring as the team defendedits home floor against rival Ann Arbor Pioneer.The River Rats defeated the Pioneers, one of thebetter teams in the Southeastern Conference Red,winning 63-50 at the Riverdome.The game started out as many expected it to, withPioneer’s Kamilah Carter taking control.The senior guard scored six quick points in thefirst few possessions to give Pioneer an early edge.However, the River Rats would not be contained.Huron used a strong defense, as well as an offensiveprowess that has not been seen from the team so farthis season.Huron had 16 assists against just nine turnovers,something Vinson was very happy with.“That’s the way you take care of the ball,” he said.“When you play like that, you give yourself the oppor-tunity to beat anyone.”Plagued by injury, Pioneer was relegated to playingwith a short bench, as the team only had 10 playersavailable.Pioneer coach Crystal Westfield said her team defi-nitely felt the effects.“It hurts us when we can’t go deep, so we got tired,”Westfield said.The game was tight into the second quarter, butHuron soon took control.Huron senior Kelcy Barott scored eight consecutivepoints to make the score go from 16-16 to 24-16 in aheartbeat.The senior finished the game with 17 points andseven rebounds.By halftime, Huron held a 35-29 lead and the RiverRats held the Pioneers to just 21 points the rest of theway.Carter was the leading scorer in the game with20 points, while Pioneer teammate Maya Richmondadded 15 points. Megan Schectman scored nine andJanese Honeycutt added seven.For Huron, Devin Tally scored 13 points, BiancaWilliams added 10 and Christina Allen scored fivepoints and grabbed 10 rebounds.The two teams will meet again at Pioneer on Feb.25.
Mike Larson can be reached by email atMlarson@A2Journal.com.
Revenge is sweetfor Saline skaters
By Mike Larson
The last time the Saline andPioneer hockey teams met, theyhad to take the game outside.The game was played inDecember at the Big Houseas part of the University of Michigan’s Big Chill at the BigHouse event.In that particular game, thePioneers took down their rival3-2.On Saturday though, Salinegot revenge.The Hornets had a rematchagainst the Pioneers, and thistime, the game was playedwithin the confines of the AnnArbor Ice Cube.Saline won the game 3-2to take the SoutheasternConference victory.The win was a dramatic onefor the Hornets, as the twoteams were tied for most of thegame.With the score knotted at2-2 early in the third period,the Saline skaters got a leg upon Pioneer when DJ Aben putthe puck past Pioneer goalieSpencer Peck with about 14minutes left in the game.James Olson and Seth Gilesgot assists.The goal proved to be thegame-winner, as Pioneer was
Photo by Jonathan Knight/A2 JOURNAL
Saline’s Payton Carson closes in on Pioneer goalie Spencer Peck while Saline’s Mike Savagetrails. Saline defeated Pioneer 3-2 on Saturday at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.