Doing enough to win

Defense key for Hurons in victory over Mio

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Rogers City’s Brendan Koss (11) goes in for a layup while being defended by Mio defender Reilly McMaster during the third quarter of a boys basketball game on Tuesday at Rogers City High School.

ROGERS CITY — It wasn’t the prettiest of games for the Rogers City boys basketball team, but the Hurons got the job done, defeating Mio on Tuesday by a final score of 50-27 at Rogers City High School.

“We played decent and we did just enough to win. We didn’t start out so hot and we were a little confused at times, but we’re still learning and they’re always learning because these are high school kids,” Rogers City coach Matt Ponik said. “We played good defense which made up for some of our mistakes on the offensive end. When you hold a team to 27 points you’re doing something right.”

The Thunderbolts gained possession on the opening tip and quickly scored as River Waisanen hit a three-pointer and Ponik called a timeout just nine seconds into the game to get his team focused and organized.

Rogers City responded out of the timeout as Phil Grambau buried two triples to give the Hurons a lead. Mio added another basket to make it 7-6, but it would be the final time the Thunderbolts led the rest of the game as Rogers City put the clamps down defensively and closed the first quarter going on a 8-0 run to take a seven point lead.

Two late timeouts in the quarter by Mio head coach Mike Kann did little for his team as the Hurons played solid defense the rest of the night.

Rogers City extended its lead in what was a low scoring second quarter as the Hurons were bailed out not only by their stellar defensive play, but the ability to shoot from beyond the three point line as the team hit eight three’s in the contest, five of which came in the first half as Rogers City took a 28-14 lead into the break.

“We have to clean some things up and work on some little things and make better decisions. A win is a win and you will take them how you can get them, but I do want to see more growth and development from my players,” Ponik said.

Mio opened the third quarter with five unanswered points to cut the lead back to single digits and forced Ponik to use another timeout. The Hurons again responded and held Mio scoreless for the remaining 5:53, while scoring the final eight points of the quarter to take a commanding 36-19 into the fourth.

The Thunderbolts had no answers and struggled to score on Rogers City’s stingy defense as the Hurons put together a strong defensive showing and closed the game out strong scoring 14 of the final 17 points to cruise to a 23 point win.

Grambau led all scorers with a game high 16 points on the night. Jacob Hilla added nine points and Matt Altman chipped in with eight points in the win for the Hurons.

Rogers City improves to 12-3 overall and 9-3 in North Star League play.

The Hurons will need to put together a much better performance in their next game as they travel to Hillman to take on the undefeated Tigers on Friday.

“It’s a big game on Friday. Hillman is having a great season and I just want my guys to be ready to go,” Ponik said. “We need to take better care of the ball than we did in the first meeting against them. We need to make better decisions and just being patient will be the biggest things to work on for Friday.”

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ROGERS CITY (50) — P. Grambau, 5 2-2 16; J. Hilla, 4 0-0 9; C. Karsten, 0 1-4 1; A. Radke, 1 2-2 4; B. Koss, 2 1-2 5; Z. Grzesikowski, 1 0-0 3; E. Delke, 1 0-2 2; D. Tulgetska, 1 0-3 2; M. Altman, 3 0-0 8.

MIO (27) — R. Waisanen, 1 2-2 5; G. Anderson, 2 2-2 6; R. McMaster, 3 1-2 8; G. Rhoads, 0 1-3 1; B. DeFlorio, 3 0-0 7; T. Modgling, 0 0-4 0.

Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at jzawacki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690.