Buchanan press dominates Bees
By By MICHAEL BASHARA / Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN -- The seventh-ranked Buchanan basketball team used its week off to work on some of the problems it had found in a recent run of six games in 10 days.
Unfortunately for Bridgman, it was on the receiving end of that work as the Bucks defeated the visiting Bees 70-40 Tuesday night in Lakeland Conference action in what might have been the Bucks' best basketball game of the season.
The Bucks used a swarming defense and a lot of big runs to simply overwhelm the Bridgman Bees, who actually did the Bucks a favor by beating Coloma in their last outing.
Actually it took a little while for the Bucks to score and for the pressure to start to take it's toll. Just 10 seconds into the game Bridgman's Tyler Weaver hit a 3-pointer to give the Bees the first lead. Two minutes later Corey Kuhn followed with a 3-pointer to put Bridgman up 6-0.
During that two-minute stretch each team missed a couple of shots from the 3-point arc. Buchanan's Brian Shannon hit a 3-pointer almost midway through the period to cut the lead to 6-3.
Kuhn hit his second 3-pointer to put Bridgman up 9-3 before Buchanan's Zach Bonham scored inside to cut the lead to 9-5. The Bucks fought hard to stay close through the entire first quarter.
The second quarter started with Kuhn getting a rebound basket inside to put Bridgman up 15-9. Tony Robinson answered that with a jump shot that started the first Buchanan run. Buchanan's P.J. Pollock came off the bench to hit two quick 3-pointers, giving the Bucks their first lead at 19-18.
Bridgman's Todd Hendricks hit two free throws to give put the Bees back up, 20-18. Shawn Smith then scored his only points of the night to put Bridgman up 22-18.
At that point it looked like it would be 32 minutes of back-and-forth basketball with the team having the last little run winning.
In the final minute and half, though, the Bucks ran off eight unanswered points to take a 26-22 lead into halftime. While the game certainly wasn't over at that point, it was the beginning of the end for the Bees.
Buchanan's Gordon Bryant was hit in the eye in the second period, and he was the lone Buchanan starter to not start the second half. Pollock opened the third quarter hitting his third 3-pointer. Shannon stole the ball and made a layup to put the Bucks up 31-22.
Bridgman's Nate Layman made a free throw to stop the run, but it was a small band aide at best.
Bryant came off the bench and quickly hit three 3-pointers in a row from the corner as the Bucks outscored Bridgman 25-7 in the third period.
Buchanan had five players in double figures with one more at nine. Tony Robinson led the Bucks with 14 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Bryant also scored 14 points and had four steals while sitting out almost half the game.
Buchanan won the fourth quarter 19-11 as both teams emptied their benches. Buchanan shot 80 percent in the final period, and take away an unnecessary 3-point attempt at the buzzer and the Bucks were 8-of-9 shooting in the final period as they went into a delay offense for the final minutes.
Buchanan is now 16-1 on the season and 11-1 in conference, a half-game behind Coloma, which is 12-1 in the conference. Buchanan plays Coloma next Friday night for the out-right Conference Championship, assuming Buchanan beats Cassopolis Friday night with the freshmen starting at 4:30.
The junior varsity game was won by Buchanan, 46-33. Jeff Kyles led the Bucks with 12 points. Kyle Tracey added 11 and Eric Cole scored 10.
The freshmen lost to Bridgman, 48-38. Brad Burns led the young Bucks with 12 points.