Martin’s Mitchell Jager (left) keeps the ball away from Saugatuck’s Tomy Bekman during the Clippers’ 55-42 win. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Quick start helps propel Martin past visiting Saugatuck

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Martin boys’ basketball coach Bradley Moelker was concerned his team would be a little rusty when it hosted Saugatuck in a SAC Lakeshore showdown on Friday, Feb. 1.
And with good reason.
Due to a combination of weather postponements and Christmas break, the Clippers were playing for the first time in two weeks and just the second time since Dec. 20.
“It’s been a long stretch with not many games,” Moelker said. “It’s hard to get any kind of consistency and continuity when you have that amount of time between games, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.”
As it turned out, Moelker needn’t have worried too much as Martin raced out to a 12-4 lead and never trailed in posting the 55-42 win.
“We played pretty well,” Moelker said. “Again, I felt there were times when it got a little sloppy, but that’s to be expected given the circumstances. Overall, though, I was really pleased with the effort and, of course, the result.”
Saugatuck coach Brian Ward’s squad was facing a similar situation when it came to playing for the first time in two weeks.
“We haven’t even practiced in eight days and most of our guys didn’t have a basketball in their hands during that time,” Ward said. “But both teams were in the same situation. Martin just handled it better that we did.”
Martin, which led 19-8 after one quarter and 33-21 at halftime, used a balanced scoring attack that saw nine players score at least two points each, led by Cayden Curry with 14.
Michael Morey added nine points, followed by Carter Hilton with eight.
“As a coach, it’s great to see so many guys get involved offensively,” Moelker said. “When we move the ball and make the extra pass, we’re a tough team to guard because we do have so many guys who are capable of scoring.”
And while he only scored four points, Alex Hardy made an impact for Martin by diving for loose balls and hustling all over the court.
“That’s something I’ve talked to Alex about before,” Moelker said. “The team feeds off his energy. Scoring is great, but he helps the team in so many other ways.”
Saugatuck’s Brad Dunn led all scorers with 17 points, while teammate Cooper Myers joined him in double figures with 11.
After falling behind by 11 points in the first quarter, Saugatuck played Martin nearly even the rest of the way. The Indians even outscored the Clippers 12-8 in the final stanza.
“It’s kind of been that way all season,” Ward said. “We dig ourselves a big hole early, getting down 10 or 15 points, then we play better. It’s almost like they feel they have nothing to lose, so they’re more relaxed and loose.
“It’s something we’ve talked about with them a lot. They have to find a way to come out with that same loose, relaxed play early in games rather than waiting until we’re down double digits.”
 

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