By Dan Hardenbrook
The Newberry and Engadine boys basketball seasons ended in similar fashion Monday evening.
The two local teams were split up in different Division 4 Districts, but suffered similar fates in the MHSAA Division 4 Tournament. In District 102 action, Newberry fell to a hot shooting Cedarville-DeTour Islanders team 64-42 at the J.L. DeCook Gymnasium, while Engadine was upended by Maplewood Baptist in the District 101 tourney 54-20.
Newberry got off to a strong start in front of a home crowd, striking early and controlling the first few minutes. Kennedy Depew banked a three pointer to get the scoring started, and the Indians held a slim lead midway through the opening quarter.
The Islanders, who are one of the top shooting teams in the EUP when they find their rhythm, were locked in early. The first four shots they made were from behind the three-point line, and they hit triples on three consecutive trips down the floor to lead of the game. It was the only lead change of the night.
Cedarville-DeTour was determined, and when they weren’t burying deep shots, they were setting up easy buckets with a set of pressure defenses that stifled the Indians ability to score. The Islanders built a double-digit lead in the second quarter, but Newberry freshman Kegan Martin kept the team alive with a series of big buckets. The Indians were battling at the half, and trailed by nine at the break 30-21.
The Islanders broke the game open in the third with another barrage of three-point shots, as Cason Smith, Hossack Sweeney, Jacob St. Onge, and Jack Wilderspin all took turns burying daggers that ended the Indians hopes of advancing.
Martin continued his breakout performance and the Indians kept battling, but scoring struggles continued. Cedarville DeTour went on a 21-3 second-half run that was too much to overcome. The game brought to an end the high school careers of seniors Blake Doke and exchange students Alex Aguiar and Diego Caballero, both of whom started most of the season for the tribe.
Engadine hit the road, heading to Big Bay de Noc for their opening playoff game. They faced an underrated Maplewood Baptist team set on proving their dominance in the small school Northern Lights League was no fluke. The Black Bears used a fundamentally sound, athletic style of play to keep control of the contest, taking down the Eagles to advance to the semifinals.
Brayden Altoft had a big night for a deep and balanced Black Bears team. He finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. John Smith also finished in double figures with 13 points, along with Caleb Henderson’s 11 points and four assists. Ian Browne and Caden Chromy both had six and Carver Day chipped in four for the Black Bears. Engadine was led by senior Luke Germain, who wrapped up his basketball career with a team high 11 points. Only three other Eagles were able to score. Derek Clark put up four; Conrad Spieles had three; and Mikka Luoto rounded out the Eagles’ attack with two points.