Three decades later, Cass back in quarterfinals

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, March 12, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — It has been 30 years since the Cassopolis boys basketball team has played in a state quarterfinal.

The Rangers advanced to tonight’s quarterfinal at Gull Lake High School with a 62-51 victory over Schoolcraft in the regional championship game.

Cassopolis (23-1) will now face No. 3-ranked Pewamo-Westphalia (25-0) with a shot at advancing to East Lansing and the Breslin Center later this week for a spot in the final four.

The Rangers last faced Parchment in the quarter finals. Cassopolis defeated the Panthers 74-69 to advance to the semifinals where it faced eventual state champion Detroit Country Day and its standout Chris Webber.

Cassopolis was defeated by Country Day 75-53 at the University of Michigan.

Pewamo-Westphalia was also a quarterfinalist that season. It defeated Wyoming-Godwin Heights 62-60 to advance to the semifinals.

Pewamo-Westphalia was defeated by Ishpeming 56-48.

In the Division 3 regional final at Watervliet last Friday, Cassopolis used its tenacious defense and speed to wear down Schoolcraft, which faded in the final quarter.

Senior Tyrese Hunt-Thompson has been on fire in the postseason and that continued Friday night when he led all scorers with 30 points.

Hunt-Thompson is averaging 27.7 per game in the postseason, which has helped the Rangers score 73.5 points per game. The Cassopolis defense is limiting its opponents to just 49.5 points per contest.

The Rangers had been stymied the past two years in the regional round by Kalamazoo Christian.

In 2017, Cassopolis was defeated by the Comets 51-33, while last season the Rangers lost to Kalamazoo Christian 61-48.

“It feels amazing,” Hunt-Thompson said about winning the regional title. “We have been working for this the past two or three years and it feels amazing to finally get past regionals.”

The Pirates, who are no strangers to the Cassopolis fans from their meeting on the football field in the playoffs two years ago, are in their first quarterfinal since finishing as the state runner-up in 2014.

Pewamo-Westphalia captured the regional championship with a 53-42 victory over Calvin Christian. The Pirates defeated NorthPointe Christian 53-41 in the regional semifinals.

In the district round, Pewamo-Westphalia defeated Saranac (59-15), Morley-Stanwood (50-32) and Carson City-Crystal (32-14).

The Pirates are averaging 60.2 points per game, while defensively they are allowing 38.5 points per contest.

Andre Smith led Pewamo-Westphalia with a double-double as he scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Pirates also got 12 points and eight rebounds from Nathan Wirth and 10 points from Aarron Bears.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.