Cass Class C District champs
Published 12:35 am Thursday, March 16, 2006
CENTREVILLE - For the better part of Saturday night's Class C championship game, the Cassopolis Rangers were outplayed by Constantine.
But in the end, when the buzzer sounded, the Rangers were district champions.
Cassopolis (16-7) trailed from just after the opening tip-off until John Young's basket with 1:22 remaining gave the Rangers a 45-44 victory.
But it wasn't easy down the stretch for the Rangers, who were 2-5 at one point this season.
Cassopolis missed a lay-up, turned the ball over and missed the front end of a one-and-one in the final 34 seconds of the contest.
The victory was the Ranger's 15th in its last 17 games.
Cassopolis will now travel to Constantine on Tuesday night where it will take on perennial regional qualifier Kalamazoo Christian. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Constantine (6-16) grabbed an 18-6 lead over the Rangers after one period of play.
Cassopolis narrowed the gap to 10 points by the intermission, 32-22, and then to six points heading into the final eight minutes.
Trailing 37-31, the Rangers outscored Constantine 14-7 in the final eight minutes to pick up the victory.
The Falcons had a couple of chances to pull out the victory, the last coming as time was running out.
Brad Smagala's shot with three seconds remaining bounced off the rim and out of bounds.
Neal Bullocks led the Rangers with 18 points, while John Young finished with 10 points.
Constantine was led by Nick Hale's 19 points. No other Falcon had more than four points.
Hood noted that the struggles his squad had against Constantine had nothing to do with overconfidence.
He also pointed out that Cassopolis just had an off shooting night.
But in the end he was proud of the way his team hung tough and stuck with it.
The Rangers fell to Kalamazoo Christian on Tuesday night in the opening game of the regional tournament, 55-45 (see related story above).
The Comets advanced to Friday night's title game where they will face the winner of Wednesday night's Gobles-Berrien Springs game.
Neal Bullocks 8 2-4 18, John Young 4 1-2 10, Dan Stanage 1 1-2 3, Rodney Lewis 2 2-6 6, Paul Curtis 1 0-2 2, Will Loux 0 0-0 0, Lonnie Williams 3 0-0 6. Totals: 19 6-16 45
Jeff Nihart 1 0-0 3, Lance Cartagena 0 0-0 0, Shawn Martin 2 0-0 4, Kyle Kline 6 0-0 13, Brad Smagala 0 0-0 0, Nick Hale 7 3-15 19, Luke Cartagena 0 0-1 0, Mike Ray 2 0-0 4, Jason Switalski 0 1-2 1. Totals: 18 4-8 44.
Cassopolis 6 22 31 45
Constantine 18 32 37 44
Three-point baskets: Young (C), Hale (CO) 2, Nihart (CO), Kline (CO). Total fouls: Cassopolis 14, Constantine 15. Fouled out: None. Technical Fouls: Constantine bench