Boys net last minute win
MANISTIQUE – A buzzer-beater by Connor Selling lifted the Emeralds to a 56-55 win at home over Ishpeming Tuesday night. Trailing through the majority of the Mid-Peninsula Conference contest, the Emerald boys closed the gap and got within one point when a blocked shot by Coby Ryan led to a three-point basket by Zack Lambert with less than two minutes to play.
The Emeralds sent Ishpeming to the line twice down the stretch, but after going 7-for-7 early, the Hematites couldn’t buy one from the charity stripe when the game was on the line.
“We fouled with about ten seconds left,” Coach Todd Kangas said. “(Tyrus) Millimaki missed, we came up with the ball, they tried to pressure us full court, we went through it which was good, had a good shot in the paint from Tyler, which did not fall, but there was enough time on the clock to come up with the last shot.”
Following their whirlwind trip to New York, Ishpeming put away their football uniforms and hit the court for their first basketball game of the year. Prior to the opening jump, the Emerald faithful gave the football state champions and “SI.com (Sports Illustrated) Underdog Story of the Year” one final round of applause. From there it was a conference battle to the end.
Out front early, Ishpeming held a 19-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. Derek DeCaire scored 12 points for Ishpeming, including three from 3-point range. Zack Lambert had 8 for Manistique. DeCaire finished the game with 22 points, leading all scorers.
Lambert, who set a career high 21 points in the win, hit a triple to cut Ishpeming’s lead to one early in the second, but from there the Hematites put together an 8-2 run and a 32-24 advantage at the half.
A fast pace start to the third led to the Emeralds gaining ground on Ishpeming. Manistique put up 21 to Ishpeming’s 17, cutting their margin to four going into the final eight minutes of play. Tyler Kangas paced the Emeralds in the period with a pair from 3-point range.
Unlike the start to the third, Ishpeming stalled the pace of the game in the final eight minutes of play – a move that cost them their opener.
With 49 points on the board through three quarters of play, Ishpeming hit just one basket from the floor in the fourth and missed a couple of key shots from the line in the end.
“We battled the whole night” said Kangas. “It was a lot like the game against Gwinn, where we got down early by ten or twelve, battled back, got close in the third and kept chipping away at their lead in the fourth and over the hump at the end.”
In addition to Lambert, Kangas and Selling finished with 13 points each. Ryan added five and Max Nelson four. Manistique was 14 of 45 from the floor including six of 14 from 3-point range, and six of 10 from the line.
Ishpeming won the freshman contest 56-37. They also took home the junior varsity win with a score of 48-15.
With the win, the Emeralds improve to 2-3. According to Kangas, continued improvement is a must when the Emeralds face the Negaunee Miners on Dec 27.
“We continue to improve offensively,” he said. “We have been hitting around 50 percent of our shots the last four games. That said, there are still some areas that we want to address defensively and on the boards that are hurting us. We are making progress but we still have a lot of things to do.”