Clippers come up short in battle with Zeeland West
Martin senior Tanner Curry was a man on a mission in the early going of his team’s game against Zeeland West on Thursday, Dec. 29.
Curry scored all 16 of his team’s first-quarter points to help the Class D Clippers hang right with the Class B Dux, with Martin trailing just 17-16.
But Curry was limited to six points the rest of the way as his team suffered the 52-39 loss in the Blue Division consolation game of the Cornerstone University High School Holiday Tournament.
“Tanner started the game on fire,” Martin coach David Curry said. “West made some great adjustments and he was only able to score six the remainder of the game as they were very focused on keeping the ball out of his hands.”
The loss was the second to a Class B team in the tournament for Martin, which fell to 3-2. The Clippers dropped a 60-50 decision to Forest Hills Northern in an opening-round contest.
David Curry sees both games as learning experiences for his squad.
“I thought we should have won at least one of those games and could have won both,” he said. “It was a great opportunity for us to get better and see what we need to do to be successful in the postseason.”
Andrew Boss joined Tanner Curry in double figures for Martin (3-2), going for 13 points. He also collected seven rebounds, which gave him one more than Tanner Curry for game-high honors.
Unfortunately for David Curry, none of his other players scored more than the two points turned in by Carter Hilton. Cayden Curry and Collin Warner each scored one point.
“Boss stepped up and created some offense of his own, but the rest of the team was unable to contribute much on the offensive side,” David Curry said. “We just didn’t play our typical game offensively. We were almost motionless at times and became spectators when we should have been in attack mode.”
That was particularly evident in the final stanza.
“In the fourth quarter we played like we were protecting a 10-point lead when we should have been pushing the pace to catch up,” David Curry said. “We missed a lot of shots we typically make and it put us in a hole we were unable to dig our way out of in the second half.”
Martin trailed 29-25 at halftime but only managed three third-quarter points in falling behind 35-28.
“I still think overall we were darn good,” David Curry said. “We played great on both ends of the floor in the first quarter. We just have to learn to play through our struggles and weather the storm.”
Logan Housenga paced Zeeland East with 18 points, while Jayk Slager went for 11. Mason Bakker and Tate Hammond added eight points each.
“It’s a little tougher to do against teams that have much deeper benches than we are used to playing,” David Curry said. “There aren’t many weak spots with those teams and it forces us to have to play nearly flawless, which is a great experience for us.
“(I have) no doubt we can play with a lot of those schools that were there. We just can’t have the lapses we did and expect to win.”
Martin returns to action on Friday, Jan. 6, when the Clippers travel to Lawrence for a SAC non-divisional game.