Grass Lake High School basketball player Xavier Bargesser (45) attempts to block out Lumen Christi Catholic High School basketball player Conor Spencer during a district game Wednesday at GLHS.
By Jeff Steers
Two high school basketball teams with less than stellar beginnings to the season – but enjoyed good endings – met in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 district semifinal at Grass Lake High School Wednesday night.
Lumen Christi Catholic High School earned a 49-43 win over the host school on Wednesday night to advance to the district final on Friday.
The Titans will face Manchester following a 61-54 win over Vandercook Lake in the other semifinal game.
Lumen Christi started the season 0-6, but has won six of its last seven games to end the regular season.
Grass Lake was 3-3 at one point to start the season, but finished the regular season with a 12-8 record.
Lumen Christi faced a number of injuries to start the season following a successful state championship three-peat in football.
“At one point we had 16 guys on the bench … we had not idea who was going to healthy,” LCCHS Coach Tyler Aldridge said. “Players have bought into their roles and we have become less selfish.”
Both teams started out cold to start the game. The Titans led 10-8 at the end of the first quarter as Bobby Willis scored seven of the Titans’ points.
Dayton Keller took over in the second quarter as the Titans outscored the Warriors 10-2. Keller scored five points and had eight points for the half.
Lumen Christi led 20-10 at halftime.
But there was no quit in the Warriors as junior Trae Ruggles took over in the third quarter. He scored 11 points in the third quarter as Grass Lake battled back to within three points a couple of times, but trailed 31-26 going into the fourth quarter.
Keller scored seven points in the third quarter for Lumen Christi.
Seventy-three seconds into the fourth quarter, Keller picked up his fourth foul and had to sit on the bench.
That didn’t last long – 48 seconds.
“About 80 percent of our offense seemed to be going through Dayton,” Aldridge said.
Keller said he is used to having to play with foul trouble. The large football player – who will play at Wayne State University next season – picks up a lot of fouls being physical.
“It helps our team when referees don’t call a lot of fouls,” Keller said. “I’ve had to play with three and four fouls a lot this year.”
Grass Lake scored six of the first nine points of the fourth quarter to pull within two points at 34-32.
But Keller scored six points and Jack Kelley and Cy’Aire Johnson added five points apiece for the Titans in the final quarter.
Keller scored 21 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for Lumen Christi (7-11). Kelley tallied eight points and Willis added seven points and five assists.
Grass Lake was led by Ruggles with 15 points and Xavier Bargesser with 14 points.
Lumen Christi will face Manchester at Grass Lake High School Friday at 7 p.m. for the district championship.
Lumen Christi Catholic High School basketball player Dayton Keller, back, attempts to block a shot by Clayton Canning of Grass Lake High School during a Division 3 district basketball game Wednesday at GLHS.
Photo by Jeff Steers/JTV Sports