Clippers come up short in opening round of tourney
It was a case of David versus Goliath when Martin took on Forest Hills Eastern in an opening-round Boys’ Blue Division game at the Cornerstone University High School Holiday Tournament on Monday, Dec. 26.
The Clippers compete in Class D with a school enrollment of 178, while Eastern competes in Class B with an enrollment of 798.
And while Martin kept itself in the game until the final two minutes, the Clippers were unable to pull off the upset as they dropped the 61-51 decision.
Martin will take on Zeeland West—a Class B school with an enrollment of 857—in the consolation game today (Thursday, Dec. 29) at 6 p.m. Zeeland West dropped a 49-43 decision to Forest Hills Northern in the other semifinal.
The loss was the first of the season for coach David Curry’s squad after opening the season with a pair of victories.
“The game was closer than the score indicates,” Curry said. “We had to start fouling with two minutes left being down by five and Eastern did a tremendous job of knocking down their free throws at the end to put it out of reach for us.”
Three Clippers scored in double figures in the losing cause, led by Tanner Curry with 14 points. Carter Hilton added 13 points, while Canton VandenBerg chipped in with 11.
Tanner Curry also had 10 rebounds for the double-double and Hilton came up with a game-best six steals. Cayden Curry dished out six assists to lead both teams.
“Overall I thought we played great,” said David Curry, whose team trailed just 8-7 after one quarter and was down 26-22 at halftime. “With the exception of the last two minutes of the first half, we were very good. We let them get a run there at the end of the second quarter and it gave them some momentum coming out of half.”
Eastern carried that momentum into the early stages of the third quarter.
“Eastern came out and forced us to make some uncharacteristic mistakes to open the third,” David Curry said. “We took a timeout to get them settled back down and I thought we played well the remainder of the game.”
Martin’s deficit stood at 42-34 at the end of three quarters.
And while the Clippers did narrow the gap to two at one point in the final stanza, they were never quite able to get over the hump.
Not that David Curry was overly disappointed with outcome.
“Although it’s our first loss of the season, it’s one we can learn a lot from and be a better team because of it,” he said.