Last-second shot gives Rangers win over Mendon

Published 9:05 am Saturday, January 16, 2016

Cassopolis’ Bryce Saxton drives to the basket against Mendon Friday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Cassopolis’ Bryce Saxton drives to the basket against Mendon Friday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Cassopolis boys basketball coach Ricky Evans drew up a play and his team executed to perfection in the final seconds of Friday’s game against Mendon.

Deion Gatson’s basket off an alley-oop pass from Bryce Saxton with five seconds left lifted the Rangers past the Hornets, 50-48, in BCS Athletic Conference Blue Division action.

Gatson was fouled on the play and had a chance for a three-point play. But Gatson missed the free throw and Mendon’s Dylan Plummer grabbed the rebound giving the Hornets a chance to tie or win the game. But the visitors came up empty as Plummer air-balled a 3-pointer as time expired.

“We got it,” Evans said about the play he designed during a timeout with :34. “It was an oop to Deion. It has been working good for us. We were trying to leave (Mendon) with nothing on the clock. We didn’t get the dunk, but we got the basket.”

Alex Emerson’s steal and basket for Cassopolis with :56 left tied the game at 48. After another Mendon turnover, Saxton was fouled with :40 left. He missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but the Rangers maintained possession as Emerson grabbed the offensive rebound. Cassopolis then called a timeout with :34 left to set up a game-winning play.

The Rangers trailed 39-33 entering the fourth quarter and shot only 26-percent (11-of-42) from the field through three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, Cassopolis forced Mendon into eight turnovers and got two 3-pointers from Saxton and one from reserve Xander Smith.

“Bryce got on a little bit of a roll and sophomore Xander Smith came through and, fortunately, we got a few steals,” Evans said.

Emerson scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds for the Rangers. Smith added 11 points and Saxton had 10.
Cassopolis, which improved to 6-2 overall and 4-0 in the BCS Athletic Conference Blue Division, extended its winning streak to five games.

“The wins haven’t been very pretty, but these kids aren’t going to quit fighting,” Evans said. “They want to win and they give me everything they have.”



At Cassopolis


Devyn Furey 2, Dylan Plummer 10, Cameron Deel 3, Lukas Crotser 4, Trey Cook 22, Hunter Lovell 7, Greg Gifford 0, Jacob Hagenbuch 0. TOTALS: 20 7-14 48.


Matt Pittman 2, Shane Los 2, Alex Emerson 12, Bryce Saxton 10, Deion Gatson 7, Marquise Curtis 4, Brandon Anderson 2, Kiambu Gary 0, Xander Smith 11, Micha Welch 0. TOTALS: 18 9-14 50.
Mendon          4          20       39       48

Cassopolis      14        21        33       50

3-point baskets: Mendon 1 (Plummer), Cassopolis 5 (Smith 3, Saxton 2). Totals fouls (fouled out): Mendon 16 (Furey), Cassopolis 18 (none). Shooting: Mendon 20-of-40 for 50-percent, Cassopolis 18-of-59 for 30-percent. Rebounding: Mendon 33 (Plummer and Cook 8 each), Cassopolis 23 (Pittman 7). Turnovers: Mendon 24, Cassopolis 11. Varsity records: Mendon 4-4, 1-3 BCS Blue Division; Cassopolis 6-2, 4-0 Blue Division