Buchanan wins third consecutive district title with victory over Bridgman

Published 6:07 pm Monday, March 7, 2005

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
BRIDGMAN - The Buchanan Bucks had quite a few goals going into Saturday night's Class C District Championship game against Bridgman. Their biggest goal was to get their third straight District Championship title, which the accomplished with a 58-44 win.
The Bucks had two things they knew would hold them back, Bridgman's 6-foot-5 junior Daniel Kunde and 6-foot-2 senior Tyler Weaver, both of whom were the biggest threats the last time the two teams met.
Buchanan had no problem taking care of the two players. Noth Kunde and Weaver picked up three fouls in the second quarter, forcing them to sit out most of the game.
The game started out as most championship games do with both teams nervous and in a hurry to get the first basket.
Tony Robinson, who led Buchanan with 16 points, did just that for the Bucks two minutes into play. Kunde nailed his first basket for the Bees, but Robinson gave Buchanan two more points to put them up 4-2.
Craig McNees tied it back up for Bridgman, but Brian Shannon bombed a three pointer to give the Bucks a three point lead. Jordan Lee and Gordon Bryant also added points to the Bucks' score in the first. Seven more points from Kunde on Bridgman's side and a three from Dan Ponegalek wasn't enough to put them up, but only kept them down by one point, 15-14, going into the second quarter.
Lee scored the first basket in the second followed by four points from Robinson to put the Bucks up 21-14. Bridgman's Todd Hendricks and Kunde were both unsuccessful on the free throw line, but Kunde was able to make the Bees' first basket at the 4:03 mark to bring them within five. Ponegalek made 2-of-2 on the line to bring the score to 21-18.
Bryant added three points and Robinson added another two points and a buzzer shot by PJ Pollack gave the Bucks a 28-21 lead heading into the second half.
Buchanan was able to take a much bigger and more comfortable lead in the third.
The Bees were only able to rack in nine points, while the Bucks scored 14. Robinson, Bryant, Lee, D'Vaughn Frazier and Jimmy Washington all scored for Buchanan in the quarter.
Bridgman, who only shot 28 percent for the night compared to Buchanan's 48 percent, had a lot of chances to score some much needed baskets in the third, but couldn't pull them off.
Bryant opened up the final quarter of play with a basket on an assist from Lee, almost identical to the way the two ended the third quarter, but that wasn't the talk of the fourth.
A steal from Robinson at the 3:45 mark left him wide open for huge dunk which had the whole gym jumping off of their feet and proved to be a wake up call to Bridgman fans that this was the end of the road. The dunk put the Bucks up 50-36 and gave Bridgman no other choice than to draw fouls on the Bucks.
Kunde and McNees both fouled out in the fourth and after a long hug at halfcourt from Kunde to Weaver, Kunde was forced to the bench and watched his teams dreams of another championship for the year fade away.
Lee made a successful three point play with 2:53 left and made a basket on an alley oop pass from Bryant.
Frazier was the last to score for Buchanan making 1-of-2 on the line to give the Bucks their 58-44 championship win.
Kunde led the Bee's with 11 points. Weaver, who usually scores more than 15 points every game, only walked away with eight and Ponegalek had nine for Bridgman.
The Lakeland Conference Champion Bee's end their season with a 19-4 record.
"We're coming into this with a new team. It just feels good to be celebrating this with my family members and my teammates. They gave us a good run for our money, but it feels good," senior starting center Jimmy Washington said. Washington had seven rebounds and four points for Buchanan.
Robinson led Buchanan with 16 points, but Bryant wasn't far behind racking in 15. Lee was the only other Buck to score in double digits racking in 13 for the night.
Buchanan, now 21-2, will play White Pigeon on Tuesday night at Watervliet High School for the start of Regional play. Tip-off time is set for 7 p.m
BUCHANAN 15 28 42 58
BRIDGMAN 14 21 30 44
BUCHANAN (58) Jeff Kyles 0 0-0 0, D'Vaughn Frazier 2 1-2 5, Brian Shannon 1 0-1 3, Kyle Tracey 0 0-0 0, Jordan Lee 6 1-1 13, Tony Robinson 7 2-3 16, Nate Brewer 0 0-0 0, PJ Pollack 1 0-0 2, Taylor Johnson 0 0-0 0, Gordon Bryant 5 5-10 15, Jared Rusher 0 0-0 0, Jimmy Washington 2 0-2 4, Eric Cole 0 0-0 0, Jason Kuntz 0 0-0 0, Marquis Hall 0 0-0 0
BRIDGMAN (44) Todd Hendricks 2 1-3 5, Matt Haughey 0 0-0 0, Zac Nemitz 0 0-0 0, Dan Kunde 5 0-2 11, Shawn Smith 1 1-2 3, Dan Ponegalek 2 4-6 9, Tyler Weaver 2 4-4 8, Jason Grosso 0 0-0 0, Nick Sweet 2 0-0 4, Zach Welsher 0 0-0 0, Nevin Schaller 0 0-0 0, Jon Malm 0 0-0 0, Nate Lyman 0 0-0 0, Craig McNees 2 0-0 4, Seth Coffing 0 0-0 0
Three point shooting: Bridgman 2 (Ponegalek 1, Kunde 1) Buchanan1 (Shannon 1) Total fouls: Buchanan 22, Bridgman 22. Fouled out: Kunde, McNees. Turnovers: Buchanan 17, Bridgman 21. Rebounds: Buchanan 34, Bridgman 38. Varsity records: Buchanan 21-2, Bridgman 19-4.