Buchanan avenges loss to Kalamazoo Christian in regional final

Published 8:57 am Saturday, March 20, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
BANGOR -- DuJuan Bennett scored six points in 49 seconds to help the Buchanan basketball team hold off a late surge by Kalamazoo Christian and walk away with a 65-57 win in Friday's Class C Regional Tournament championship game at Bangor High School.
It is the first regional title for the Bucks since 1978 and they will now play in Tuesday's quarterfinal game at Western Michigan University against Albion, a 65-47 winner over Blissfield in the Regional Tournament at Jackson High School.
Bennett, a 5-11 senior, came off the bench to score 10 points but none were bigger than his final six, which turned a slim 58-55 lead into a 64-57 cushion with just 32 seconds remaining in the game. Bennett tipped in a missed shot with 1:21 left in the game then drew two fouls and converted all four of his free-throw attempts.
Bennett's heroics became necessary when Kalamazoo Christian took advantage of Buchanan's effort to slow the game down starting in the fourth quarter. The Bucks led 52-37 heading into the final period and McBeth saw no need to rush things offensively.
Matt Triemstra scored 10 points for the Comets in the fourth quarter and the Bucks' lead was cut to three points, at 58-55, on a pair of free throws by Ryan Zwier.
Buchanan's trademark full-court press forced Kalamazoo Christian into 19 turnovers in the game. Six of those came in the first quarter and seven were in the third quarter.
Buchanan raced out to a 18-9 lead before settling for a 18-13 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Bucks led 31-24 at halftime and outscored the Comets 21-13 in the third quarter.
Junior forward Tony Robinson carried much of the offensive load for Buchanan in the first half. He scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the first half, including seven in the first quarter. Robinson was one of two returning starters from last season's team which suffered a 58-29 loss in the 2003 regional championship game.
Robinson did not score in the 2003 contest, but had the hot hand for most of the game Friday night.
Buchanan also got 14 points from junior guard Brian Shannon and 10 points from senior center Zach Bonham.
Buchanan is now 14-11 on the season while Kalamazoo Christian finishes the year with a record of 18-6.