Saxton making right decisions

Cassopolis senior Bryce Saxton helped the Rangers fend off an upset by Mendon Friday night. (Leader file photo/TIMOTHY RITTER)

Cassopolis senior Bryce Saxton helped the Rangers fend off an upset by Mendon Friday night. (Leader file photo/TIMOTHY RITTER)

Bryce Saxton’s perfect pass helped Cassopolis overcome its offensive struggles on Jan. 15 against Mendon.

Deion Gatson caught Saxton’s alley-oop with five seconds left and scored to give the Rangers a dramatic 50-48 win.

Cassopolis coach Ricky Evans called for that play during a Rangers’ timeout with 34 seconds remaining.

“I have all the confidence in the world having the ball in Bryce’s hands,” Evans said. “Him and Deion are our men and our go-to guys. I trust them both.”

That play was nothing new to Saxton and Gatson, who had hooked up on alley-oops several times before the Mendon game.

“I just had to get the ball to him,” Saxton said. “I couldn’t afford a turnover so all I did was throw it up there and, hopefully, he would go get it. But I trust Deion so I knew he would catch the ball and score.

“This was my last homecoming game and I wanted to win. I wanted us to win comfortably, but we just didn’t have it.”

Saxton was asked if the roles have ever been reversed on that play with him being the receiver, instead of the passer.

“We’ve gone my way a few times, but the oop isn’t the same. He’s a better leaper and I’m a better passer,” he said.

Saxton and his teammates were at their best offensively in the fourth quarter against the Hornets. The Rangers needed to be efficient in the fourth quarter as Mendon entered with a 39-33 lead.

Saxton, who scored 10 points, made two 3-pointers in the fourth and Cassopolis shot 41-percent (7-of-17) from the field in the final quarter.

For the game, the Rangers shot only 30-percent (18-of-59) from the field.

“I’m not trying to brag, but I know I’m a shooter and shooters keep shooting,” Saxton said. “I know I wasn’t on (against Mendon), but I couldn’t hang my head.

My teammates always tell me to keep shooting because they know I can hit shots.”

Saxton has contributed in many areas this season for the Rangers, who improved to 6-2 and extended their win streak to five games with their win against Mendon. Saxton is averaging 18.1 points, 6.6 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.3 steals a game.

Despite those impressive numbers, Saxon isn’t happy with his play this season.

“I can do a lot better,” the 6-foot-1 senior said. “Honestly, I can say I’m doing bad right now. But, I’ll play better. There is extra pressure being a senior and this whole college stuff has given me a lot of stress. But, I’ll work it out.”

Saxton has learned to adjust during his high school career. He transferred to South Bend Adams High School as a sophomore and was a valuable player off the bench for the Eagles. He came back to Cassopolis High School as a junior and he has been a two-year varsity starter for the basketball team.

“The environment is great here,” Saxton said about his time at Cassopolis. “I just love it here.”

Evans has loved having him as part of the program.

“He works, very hard,” the Rangers coach said.

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