Bucks fall to Houghton Lake in district tournament

HOUGHTON LAKE — In the tournament, it’s one and done. But, for the Roscommon boys basketball team it was an especially bitter moment when the Bucks fell to their county and Jack Pine Conference rival Houghton Lake by a narrow 43-41 margin Tuesday, March 6, in the MHSAA Class C district tournament at Houghton Lake High School.

The Bucks trailed, 16-9 at the end of the first quarter. But they bounced back to outscore the Bobcats, 9-6 in the second and went into the half with a 22-18 deficit.

Scoring was even in the third period, with both teams scoring 13 points in the quarter, which left Houghton Lake holding a four-point lead, 35-31 going into the final stanza. Roscommon outscored Houghton Lake, 10-8 in the final eight minutes.

“My kids played their hearts out, but we missed too many opportunities with missed shots and turnovers,” Roscommon head coach MJ Ewald said. “I’m really proud of our effort and energy.

“We continually battled back from deficits throughout the game. We got down by nine, 29-20, in the second half before coming back to take a 41-40 lead on a made free throw by Dan Smitz.”

Houghton Lake was able to snag an offensive rebound off a missed free throw of its own, and hit the winner as time ran out.

Ewald said the Bucks did a great job defensively. Smitz, he said, had some strong plays defensively, as did Gage Sarna and Trey Heliin. The coach added that Seth Keipert was huge in the paint, and the team got some good defensive efforts from Kyle Hartman and Thomas Pastell.

Smitz led the Bucks with 13 points, while Keipert finished with nine and Sarna added eight. Ewald added that Smitz, Sarna and Hartman hit some big 3-point shots to keep their team close. The coach remarked on the solid minutes provided by sophomore Jake Jobin off the bench, saying that he ran the floor well and played aggressively.

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