Rangers’ quickness overwhelms Union City

Published 9:09 am Thursday, March 7, 2019

WATERVLIET — Speed kills.

Just ask Union City, which could not match Cassopolis’ quickness and athletic ability in its 59-29 loss to the Rangers in the Division 3 regional semifinals at Watervliet High School Tuesday night.

A switch in the starting line-up by veteran coach Ricky Evans allowed Cassopolis to be even faster than normal.

Evans inserted the “Hart Connection” — J.J. and Ashan — into the starting line-up and it paid immediate dividends as the Rangers forced numerous turnovers, which led to easy baskets and a 14-0 run to turn a 4-4 tie into an 18-4 advantage.

The Chargers (16-8) never recovered.

“It is that time of the year,” said Cassopolis coach Ricky Evans. “You have to play defense or you will be at home. We went smaller, but that allowed us to get our speed in there and I thought that made a difference in the first half.”

Evans also gave praise to the Harts for their effort throughout the contest.

“The Harts just give us a spark,” Evans said. “They give us everything they have, 110 percent. I thought we needed them to start. They bring so much energy and were a big difference in the game.”

Cassopolis senior Tyrese Hunt-Thompson helped the Rangers get off to a fast start as he scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the first quarter, which included a pair of one-handed dunks.

“Tyrese is Tyrese,” Evans said. “But everyone played well for us tonight. We’re not going to change what we do. They were ready.”

Leading 35-14 at halftime, the Rangers opened up the second half with a 18-4 run to seal the deal.

Cassopolis took a 53-18 lead into the final quarter. Evans quickly emptied his bench for the final eight minutes of play.

Besides Hunt-Thompson, Cassopolis also got 14 points from sophomore Brayden Saxton and eight points from Cerious Wilson.

Larson Kever led the Chargers with 16 points. He was the lone Union City player to reach double figures.

The Rangers now face Schoolcraft (20-4), which defeated Brandywine 42-33 in the first semifinal Tuesday night. The championship game will be played today at 7 p.m. in Watervliet.