Chieftains pick up first victory

Published 11:59 pm Friday, December 19, 2008

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Dowagiac Daily News
It won't go down as one of the prettiest wins in Dowagiac boys' basketball history, but it was a much-needed one for the Chieftains.
Dowagiac came into Thursday night's Wolverine Conference clash with Three Rivers with a 0-3 record and a lot of unanswered questions.
While Dowagiac coach Greg Blomgren may not have many more answers than he did when the game tipped off, his squad does have a victory headed into the Christmas break.
The Chieftains rallied from a 55-51 deficit with 31 ticks left on the game clock to pull out a 58-57 win over visiting Three Rivers.
Junior Brandon Douglas, who hit seven out of 10 free throw in the final eight minutes, cut the Wildcats' lead to four points with a half minute to play.
Sophomore Troy Butcher then came up with a steal and a bucket with 23 seconds remaining to make it a 55-54 contest. Butcher was fouled on the play, but was unable to complete the three-point play.
Three and a half seconds later, Douglas scored after grabbing an offensive rebound to give the Chieftains a 56-55 lead.
A pair of free throws by Dan Shutes with 11.2 showing on the clock returned the lead to Three Rivers.
Following a Wildcats' time out, Dowagiac was able to break the full-court press with Douglas dribbling down the middle of the floor and lane to the basket.
He was fouled with 6.2 seconds remaining, sending him to the line with a chance to put the Chieftains back out in front.
Douglas calmly sank both free throws to make it 58-57.
Dowagiac called time out and on the inbounds play, Jalen Nickens deflected the pass, but Drew Bosma was able to regain possession and the Wildcats got the ball up the floor to Aaron Spence who launched a potential game-winning shot.
The ball bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded.
The two teams traded leads throughout the contest.
Dowagiac led 8-3 early only to end up trailing Three Rivers 14-9 midway through the opening quarter.
The Chieftains rallied back to take a 15-14 lead heading into the second period.
Dowagiac (1-3, 1-2 Wolverine) opened up a 24-14 advantage with 5:17 to play in the first half as it went on a 15-0 run.
Three Rivers was able to whittle that advantage down to just seven points heading into the locker room.
The Wildcats (Three Rivers 1-3, 1-2 Wolverine) came out and scored the first six points of the second half to cut the lead to 34-33 with 6:18 to play in the third.
Three Rivers would eventually tie the score at 36-36 and took a 38-36 lead on a basket by Shutes with 4:07 to play in the quarter.
The two teams battled back and forth for the remainder period with the Wildcats holding on to a 46-45 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
"We just needed a couple of breaks and we got them," Dowagiac coach Greg Blomgren said following the game. "Even up seven at half, I thought we should have been up double digits. You know, we lost Spence and he hits three wide-open threes and he was the guy we were trying to focus on defensively.
We came out a little bit flat to start the second half and got into a dogfight for the rest of the game. We found ourselves chasing them at the end, but we just didn't quit and the kids made a couple of plays, came up with some defensive steals that led to easy baskets. It got exciting at the end, but I don't know if that's the way we had it drawn up," he added.
Douglas led all scorers with 20 points, while Dowagiac also got 13 points from Romero Reed and eight points from Michael Filley.
Nickens and Greg Nelson both contributed six points.
Spence led the Wildcats with 15 points, while Bosma added 11 and Isiah Bosma nine.
Drew Bosma 4 2-5 11; Aaron Spence 5 2-4 15; Kyle Lokar 2 0-0 4; Alex Foster 2 2-4 7; Isiah Bosma 3 3-5 9; Dan Shutes 1 2-4 5; Marco Drayton 0 0-0 0; Drew Shutes 3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 20 11-22 57
Jalen Nickens 3 0-0 6; Troy Butcher 1 0-1 2; Romero Reed 4 3-4 13; Shaun Bruens 0 0-2 0; Michael Filley 3 0-0 8; Greg Nelson 3 0-0 6; Drew Cooper 0 0-0 0; Pierre Reed 0 0-0 0; Damone Huff 1 1-2 3; Brandon Douglas 6 7-10 20. TOTALS: 21 11-19 58
Three Rivers 14 27 46 57
Dowagiac 15 34 45 58
3-point goals: Three Rivers 6 (D. Bosma, Spence 3, Foster, Da. Shutes), Dowagiac 5 (R. Reed 2, Filley 2, Douglas). Total fouls (fouled out): Three Rivers 15, Dowagiac 18. Varsity record: Dowagiac 1-3, 1-2 Wolverine