HOUGHTON LAKE – Television broadcasters might refer to it as a signature win. It certainly was a major step for the Houghton Lake boys basketball program when the Bobcats went on the road Jan. 31 and pulled out a thrilling 38-33 nail-biter over Beaverton.
Some have said the Beavers aren’t quite the same powerhouse in or out of the Jack Pine Conference this season, but that would be hard to imagine with an 8-5 record and two overtime losses by a combined 3 points.
“If the ball bounces differently in two games against us, and the overtime game against Meridian, you’re talking about an 11-2 team that is first in the conference,” Houghton Lake coach Jeff Goodwin said.
“They are disciplined, defend and have talented guards. It was a great performance by us. The Jack Pine Conference is wide open now. We are two games back and in a three-way tie for second. Our schedule is very difficult going forward, but we are just going to keep trying to get better, keep defending and keep rebounding.”
Jackson Blanchard came in for heavy praise from his coach, showing his grittiness by playing on a bad ankle that’s about the size of a baseball with bruising and pain. He held Nate Taylor, one of the best guards in the league, to 8 points. For the game, Blanchard had 5 assists and 5 rebounds, as well as some huge deflections.
Cameron Sidelko and Joey Peterson got the Bobcats off to a 10-3 start, each knocking down 3-pointers. They held off two Beaverton runs by hitting from beyond the 3-point line. Goodwin hopes that it’s a sign the Bobcats might be coming out of their offensive funk.
Houghton Lake 51, Gladwin 46
After trailing by 5 points, 18-13 at the end of the first quarter Jan. 26, the Bobcats started their climb back with an 11-10 second quarter and a 38-24 deficit at the half. The Bobcats outscored the Flying G’s, 14-10 in the third and 13-8 in the fourth.
Sidelko led the Bobcats with 20 points, while Shawn McKinley and John Steckler each scored 9. McKinley hauled down 13 rebounds, of which 7 were offensive boards, while Steckler also had 13 boards with 6 offensive.
Joey Peterson, Steckler and Brock Decker each had three assists. Peterson also had 3 steals.
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