Slow start too much for Chieftains to overcome

Published 10:53 pm Friday, January 5, 2024

DOWAGIAC — A slow start doomed the Dowagiac boys basketball team as visiting Watervliet snapped the Chieftains three-game winning streak with a 41-32 victory Friday night.

Dowagiac (5-4) fell behind 13-6 after the opening eight minutes of play and spent the rest of the night chasing the Panthers, who improve to 6-1 with the victory.

Watervliet led 22-14 at halftime.

The Chieftains came out with much more energy in the third quarter and cut the Panthers’ advantage to five points, 29-24, by the end of the period.

Dowagiac continued to try and close the gap in the final eight minutes, but could not gain any ground on Watervliet.

Isaiah Fitchett, who connected on his first three attempts, all 3-pointers, but did not hit another shot and finished with a team-high nine points. Lamone Moore Jr. and Gianni Villalobos both added eight points.

Jacob Pleyer had a game-high 17 points for the Panthers. He was the only player to reach double figures on either squad.

The Chieftains are back in action Tuesday night as they head to Niles to face Brandywine in a key Lakeland Conference contest. The Bobcats are 2-0  in league games, while Dowagiac is 1-1.