Dowagiac cagers edged by Gull Lake 51-45

Published 12:10 pm Monday, January 26, 2009

By By DON EDEN / Dowagiac Daily News
Another tall task took its toll on the Dowagiac basketball team as the height of the Gull Lake boys tallied a 51-45 triumph over the Chieftains Friday evening.
Towering over the hosts for the Blue Devils were seniors Matt Howe (6-foot-7) and Matt Maiers (6-foot-4) along with sophomores Adam Peters (6-foot-3) and Trenton Messer (6-foot-4) on the varsity and waiting in the wings are a couple of 6-foot-3 freshmen.
"If we stay within five in rebounds with our size they have done a good job, because we put a lot of emphasis on rebounds to use our speed and quickness," stated Dowagiac coach Greg Blomgren.
Senior Zach Maddox was the thorn against Dowagiac as the Blue Devil torched on all four torpedoes from behind the arc in the first 3:33 of the contest with the second one whirling around the rim a couple of turns before dropping through the net to give the visitors a 16-6 early advantage.
"Zach (Maddox) doesn't score much and those early threes sure came in handy and he also handles the ball well and does all the fundamental things seniors are supposed to do," said Gull Lake coach Gary Sprague. "We have been shooting the ball very well as a team lately."
Dowagiac senior Michael Filley answered his counterpart with a trio of treys in the first quarter as Blomgren went to the four corner offense to spread out the giants on the opposite side and a banked buzzer beater missile by sophomore Troy Butcher ended the first quarter with a 21-17 Gull Lake lead.
"The hot start for them was key since we wanted to control the ball so they couldn't possess it, but we stuck to the strategy even though they took the lead with the early threes," indicated Blomgren. "The four corner is an offense we can use against bigger teams to utilize our strengths better."
The scoreboard stayed the same as the stall by Dowagiac took the first 3:37 off the clock when a traveling call neglected a pass to an open Chieftain under the basket, but Howe scored the only field goal for Gull Lake with 1:40 remaining and a Filley buzzer beater off an offensive rebound narrowed the disadvantage to 24-21 going to the locker room at halftime.
"We always know something unexpected is coming from Dowagiac because Greg (Blomgren) is one of the really good coaches in the area and all the other conference coaches have a lot respect for him," commented Sprague. "Dowagiac played great and were very discipline in running the offense like the coach wanted."
The threesome of juniors Jalen Nickens and Damone Huff along with Filley each connected on a trey in the third quarter to keep Dowagiac in the game as the inside prowess of Gull Lake showed with the visitors ahead 38-32 after three quarters.
Dowagiac scored the first four points of the final stanza and had possession of the ball behind 38-36 when a couple questionable turnovers plus a technical within 30 seconds midway through the period put the Chieftains behind by six again.
"It was an emotional game and the passion with desire is the way I coach, but I may have overreacted but a technical should not have been called in that situation," noted Blomgren. "The players though were not phased and may have been sparked as it seemed to energize them to pull the game out and we had our chances but didn't make the free throws or shots at the end or the game changes."
Both crowds came alive in the final two minutes as an alley-oop pass to senior Romero Reed with 1:50 remaining put Dowagiac a single digit behind 44-43 but Gull Lake went to the stall and Maiers, Maddox and Howe each went 3-4 from the free throw line when the baskets were not as easy for the Chiefs.
"Greg (Blomgren) is a master of coming up with special things for every game and Dowagiac should be proud to have him since he has great character, competitive and all about the kids to be better individuals and it was pretty slick how he almost got a game out of it, but if they played like that they could beat six or seven teams in the league," said Sprague. "Kiley Adamski is a senior who works hard all the time, plays good defense and handles the ball without a turnover and thanked him for being ready in a crucial situation replacing an injured starter."
Gull Lake made 17-of-29 field goals and made 13-of-19 free throws with Dowagiac connecting on 15-of-36 shot attempts with only going 7-of-14 from the charity stripe. Rebounds went to the much taller Blue Devils by a 20-16 advantage with each team committing a dozen turnovers.
Maddox, Howe and Maiers were the leading scorers for the Blue Devils with 15, 14 and 11 points respectively with Filley filling the nets with 17 points to lead Dowagiac followed by nine markers by Huff. Filley and Maiers each had seven rebounds to lead their teams.
"This is the proudest all year that I have been with these kids with how they played and the effort against a very, very good Gull Lake team," concluded Blomgren. "I have confidence with the shots we took tonight but they didn't go down, but we proved tonight that we will keep on fighting through adversity and never quit."
Gull Lake also won the junior varsity (73-57) and freshmen (56-35) games with sophomores Chris Craft and Corey Rodgers scoring 18 and 15 points respectively to lead the Chiefs in the JV contest with Jacob Williams scoring 10 points for the frosh.
Jason Schau led all scorers with 27 points for the victors in the junior varsity game for the Blue Devils.
Matt Maiers 4 3-4 11; Maddox 4 3-4 15; Adrian Zuidweg 1 0-0 2; Adam Peters 4 0-0 8; Trenton Messer 0 1-2 1; Matt Howe 4 6-9 14. Totals 17 13-19 51.
Jalen Nickens 1 0-0 3; Troy Butcher 2 0-1 5; Romero Reed 1 0-1 2; Shaun Bruens 2 3-8 7; Michael Filley 6 0-0 17; Drew Cooper 1 0-0 2; Damone Huff 2 4-4 9. Totals 15 7-14 45.
Gull Lake 21 24 38 51
Dowagiac 17 21 32 45
3-point shots: Dowagiac 8 (Filley 5, Nickens, Huff, Butcher), Gull Lake 4 (Maddox 4). Turnovers: Dowagiac 12 (Nickens 4), Gull Lake 12 (Maiers 4). Rebounding: Dowagiac 16 (Filley 7), Gull Lake 20 (Maiers 7). Records: Gull Lake 7-2, 6-1 Wolverine); Dowagiac 1-8, 0-7 Wolverine