Rangers’ inconsistent play still a factor in loss to Chiefs

Published 11:44 am Friday, February 2, 2024

WHITE PIGEON — Opposing teams could find themselves in quite a predicament if the Cassopolis boys basketball team ever figures out how to keep up the same intensity level for a full 32 minutes.

Cassopolis got off to another slow start in the first half, battled back to take a fourth-quarter lead before dropping an eventual 52-46 Southwest 10 Conference game at White Pigeon Thursday.

Cassopolis falls to 7-5 overall and 6-3 in the league. White Pigeon is now 10-4 overall and 8-3 in conference games.

Except for a brief 2-0 lead to start the game, Cassopolis trailed White Pigeon the entire first half and never regained the lead until Ayden Gilliam’s reverse layup and ensuing free throw put the Rangers back in front 43-41 with 6:06 left in the fourth quarter.

White Pigeon, however, responded with a 9-3 run down the stretch to hand Cassopolis a loss and sweep the season series. The Chiefs handed the Rangers a 52-47 setback in Cassopolis earlier this season.

“We spotted them (White Pigeon) 15 points in that first half. But we fought back and when we finally took the lead again we were pretty exhausted. Our tired legs kind’ve showed near the end when we lost Jadyn (Brown) to fouls so we were essentially a man down. We had other guys come in and step up for us. I’m proud of our kids,” said Cassopolis’ Coach CJ Superczynski.

Only two Cassopolis players reached double-digit scoring led by Jadyn Brown with 14 and Ayden Giliam scored 11 points. Kenny May contributed eight, Jaylne Brown finished with six and Malachi Ward had five for the Rangers, who made 19 field-goal attempts, including four three pointers, and 4-of-8 free-throw attempts.

May led the Rangers in rebounding with 11, while Trevon Peterson-Evans added five and Jadyn Brown, Ward and DeMario McNichols all had four apiece.

“Jalyne doesn’t get a ton of minutes and for him to come in and do whatever he could against their 6-8 guy (Roberts) was big,” Superczynski said.

White Pigeon got 19 points, including five triples, from junior guard Josh Davidson. The Chiefs got 13 points from 6-foot-8 junior center Wes Roberts and Pisco, a 6-3 junior, post player added 12.

All four of Pisco’s baskets came on three-point attempts.

White Pigeon finished with 19 total field goals, including eight triples, and the Chiefs made only 6-of-18 free-throw attempts.

Mekhi Singleton, a junior, added five points to go with nine rebounds for White Pigeon. Pisco ripped down eight boards and Davidson and Roberts pulled down five apiece.

“I thought our defense was a big key tonight. We came out and played intense and set the tone early. I thought our kids played with alot of intensity from the start to finish. We’ve had a tendency before this point to letdown but we avoided that happening this time,” said White Pigeon head coach Shawn Strawser.

“We play pretty free and we have some really good shooters. That’s kind’ve who we are, but when Cassopolis made a run on us I felt we did a great job of getting the ball back inside to score.”

Jalyne Brown hit a pair of key three pointers for Cassopolis during the third and fourth quarter. His first triple late in the third helped the Rangers erase a seven-point deficit and trail by just four, 39-35.

White Pigeon scored again late in the period and carried a 41-35 lead into the fourth.

Davidson drained a pair of triples and Singleton had one in the opening period to help White Pigeon out to a quick 10-point lead 16-6. Four consecutive points from junior Jordan Pisco helped the Chiefs reduce its deficit to just six, 16-10 entering the second quarter.

Pisco hit two of his three triples of the game during that second period and Davidson added a three pointer to help the Chiefs outscore the Rangers 15-8 and build a 31-18 halftime advantage.