Otsego senior Michael Williams (left) prepares to drive around a Paw Paw defender. Williams scored a game-high 18 points in the win by the Bulldogs.

Bulldogs overcome slow start to win district title

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Friday the 13th has traditionally been viewed as a day when strange things can happen.
Members of the Otsego boys’ basketball team were definitely experiencing some strange feelings at halftime of their Class B district final against Paw Paw on Friday, March 13.
How strange, you ask? Well, the 20-19 deficit faced by the Bulldogs represented only the third time all season they were trailing at the intermission. And only one other time all season had Otsego failed to score at least 20 points in the opening half, with the other time being a 13-point effort in the fourth game of the season against Plainwell.
Strange indeed.
“In the first half we just struggled to score the basketball a little bit,” Otsego coach Josh Holmes said.
The senior duo of Seth Dugan and Michael Williams did there part to make sure things changed in the second half.
The 7-foot Dugan scored 15 points in the second half, with Williams going for 13 as the pair led a second-half resurgence that propelled the Bulldogs to the 64-47 win and a second straight district title.
Williams finished with a game-best 18 points, while Dugan—who reached the 1,000-point plateau during the game—was close behind with 17. He also had 14 rebounds.
“At halftime, coach pulled me aside and told me just to stay calm, let the game come to me and good things would happen,” Williams said. “He said, ‘Look, Mike, you and Seth need to go out there and feed off each other.’ That’s what we did.”
The district championship is the third in three years for Otsego (20-3), who will face Harper Creek in a regional semifinal Monday, March 16, at 6 p.m. in Comstock.
“We’re going to enjoy this one tonight and then we need to get back to work,” Dugan said. “We faced Harper Creek in regionals last season and that’s a good team. They have great guards and they like to get up and down the court. We have to work hard to prepare so we’re ready for them.”
Foul trouble plagued Dugan and fellow senior Chris Pearl in the opening half, as each picked up two fouls and were relegated to the bench for lengthy periods of time.
Paw Paw took advantage by slowing down the pace of the game and taking its 20-19 lead to halftime.
Still, Williams and the rest of the Bulldogs knew the situation could have been much worse if not for the solid performances by subs such as Jordan Owens, Danny Nichols and Billy Woodhams.
“Those guys come off the bench with a lot of energy and were really able to help keep us in the game,” Williams said.
 

For full story, pick up a copy of the March 16 issue of The Union Enterprise or subscribe to the e-edition.

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