Tigers can’t overcome early deficit in league loss to Trojans
Having secured its first win of the season three days earlier, members of the Allegan boys’ basketball team were hoping to make it two in a row heading to Christmas break when they hosted Plainwell on Friday, Dec. 21.
The Trojans had other ideas.
Buoyed by some strong outside shooting, Plainwell built a lead of as many as 20 points in the second quarter before settling for the 57-47 win over the Tigers.
Isaac Davis and Nick Tiller spearheaded the long-range barrage for the Trojans, each knocking down two in the first half to account for four of their team’s seven first-half 3-pointers.
“When we give the kind of effort we gave in the first half and make the extra pass rather than settling for a shot, we can be a pretty good team,” Plainwell coach Dan Klein said. “When we get into trouble is when we start making one or two passes and then take a good shot rather than being patient and waiting for a great shot.”
That impatience started to show up for Plainwell in the second half.
Leading 33-15 at halftime, the Trojans found themselves on the wrong end of a 21-17 score in the third quarter. Allegan continued to shoot well in the fourth quarter, outscoring Plainwell 11-7 and cutting its deficit to single digit late in the final frame.
“You have to give Allegan a ton of credit,” Klein said. “They only scored 15 points in the first half, but then came out in the third quarter and played like their hair was on fire. They were doing a good job of moving the ball and we were taking some quick shots, which really helped them because we weren’t making them work that hard on the defensive end.”
A basket by Caleb DeKryger with less than a minute to play in the game pulled the Tigers to within eight points at 55-47.
But Davis made a pair of free throws for Plainwell and the Tigers were able to get no closer before time expired.
“We’re still learning how to win,” said Klein, whose team improved to 4-3. “You can only do that by being out there and going through it. It’s all about consistency. That’s something we need to work on during (Christmas) break so we’re ready to go.”
Plainwell set the tone early, with Davis and Nate VanderBoon each knocking down a 3-pointer in the game’s opening minutes to help stake the Trojans to an 8-2 lead. The advantage stood at 14-8 after the first quarter, swelling to 20 points at 32-12 following a triple by Tiller in the closing minute of the half.
Though down, the Tigers continued to fight, led by a strong inside effort from DeKryger. A four-year varsity player for Allegan, DeKryger scored 15 of his game-best 21 points in the second half.
“Caleb DeKryger is one of the nicest kids you’ll ever meet and he’s a heck of a basketball player,” Klein said. “I’ve gotten to know him pretty well because he’s played AAU with some of our kids and he’s tough to guard when he gets going.”
Davis did his part to offset DeKryger’s strong performance, netting 13 of his team-best 19 points in the second half.
Tiller added 10 points for Plainwell, while Liam Davis went for nine on three third-quarter 3-pointers.
For Allegan, Ezra Butcher was second behind DeKryger with eight points. Baylee Schafer and Riley Scofield tacked on six points each.