Turnovers betray Roscommon in districts

Roscommon Basketball

HOUGHTON LAKE – Turnovers are particularly costly in the big games and the Roscommon boys basketball team learned just how true that is when the Bucks were made to pay for their untimely mistakes by the Houghton Lake Bobcats in a Class C district game on Wednesday, March 9.

Roscommon threw the ball all over the court, and the Bobcats converted far too many of those mistakes into points at the other end in overcoming a four-point half-time deficit to register a strong 53-47 victory and end the Bobcats’ season prematurely.

It was third meeting between the two teams this season with both playing in the Jack Pine Conference, but the Bobcats were left wondering what might have been had they been a little more careful with the ball.

“Houghton Lake played aggressively on the defensive end, and we struggled to get looks in the second half,” Bucks’ head coach M.J. Ewald said. “Our effort and energy was there for us, though. We fought the whole game.

“I’m disappointed in the loss, but we’ll use this to get better. We have most our team returning, so I’m hoping that we have a good summer and continue to develop.”

I’m disappointed in the loss, but we’ll use this to get better. ~Coach Ewald

What developed on March 9 was a problem handling the Bobcats’ defensive pressure, and hustling back on defense once Houghton Lake had possession. It quickly turned things around for the Bucks.

And not in a positive fashion.

Roscommon trailed the Bobcats, 12-10 at the end of the first quarter but rallied for a 15-9 second period which enabled the Bucks to climb into a 25-21 lead entering the halftime break. But the Bucks’ turnover problem became more pronounced in the third quarter.

Disrupting the Bucks’ offense with a ballhawking defense that seemed to everywhere at once, the Bobcats created several turnovers – some on steals, others unforced errors when the Bucks made bad decisions – and outscored the Bucks, 16-10 to go into the fourth quarter holding a 37-35 advantage. Houghton Lake owned the fourth period, 16-12.

Roscommon split the regular season series with the Bobcats, winning the first game in Houghton Lake, 75-53 while losing the rematch, 52-39 in Roscommon in the “Coaches vs. Cancer” fundraiser.

Kaleb Keipert poured in 21 points to lead the Bucks in scoring and he also grabbed 17 rebounds. Michael Treml finished with seven points and two rebounds, Grant Smitz added six points, three rebounds and two assists, T.J. Murringer contributed six points and five rebounds while Gage Sarna tossed in five points. Roscommon finished the season with a 9-12 record.

Keipert broke two school records this season, rebounds in a single game with 22 in a win over Kalkaska and made free throws in a season with 123. His uncle, Frank McCarrier held the only record of 21 rebounds in a single game set in 1991 and Jason Kaniszewski made 113 free throws in 1988-89.

“With him, Smitz, Treml and Sarna returning, I’m optimistic for next season,” Ewald said. “Overall, they all had solid seasons. We also had some good minutes tonight from juniors Justin Brooks, Jacob Sayad and Tyler Bee.

“We’ll miss T.J. Murringer tremendously. He was the heart and soul of our team, and brought energy and hustle every time he stepped on the floor. He made sure that kids played their hardest. He would accept nothing less from his teammates and he led by example. TJ’s a great kid. I loved having the opportunity to coach such a competitor.”