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Kimmerer sets record in win over Hurons

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Hale senior Joseph Kimmerer (12) drives to the basket and scores a layup while being defended by Rogers City’s Jaylen Fleming (10) during the second quarter of a boys basketball game on Monday at Rogers City High School. Kimmerer poured in a game high 36 points and broke Hale’s all time scoring record in a 67-57 victory.

ROGERS CITY — Joseph Kimmerer entered Monday’s season opener just three points shy of breaking Hale’s all time scoring record held by Chad Brandt who finished with 1,230 points, set in 1992.

Kimmerer entered with 1,228 and it didn’t take long for the star senior to set the record and become the school’s all time scoring king. He drilled a three on his first shot attempt of the night less than a minute into the contest and was awarded the game ball and honored for his accomplishment.

Kimmerer broke the record, but did not stop there as he poured in a game high 36 points to lead Hale to a 67-57 victory over Rogers City on opening night of the boys basketball season.

“First shot of the game, it was really nice to go down right away and get it over with because then we had to worry about getting the win. It was awesome that the all time leading scorer came all the way from Kentucky so it was really cool to see him tonight,” Kimmerer said. “My teammates just trust me when I have the ball and gave me opportunities to score. All around we played really well. There’s a lot more we can do and I believe we can do a lot of big things this year. This is just the start.”

The Hurons opened the game strong and controlled much of the opening quarter. They held a 15-11 lead after one, but the second quarter proved to be critical as Rogers City went cold and were held scoreless for a four and a half minute stretch. It allowed the Eagles to take a lead that they wouldn’t surrender the rest of the way, despite being challenged late.

“We had those stretches last year and I’m trying to teach these guys that. We owned the first quarter and then we kind of took a break. Our team is young and we have a lot of guys taking on new roles, but I was proud of how we responded late in the game,” Rogers City coach Matt Ponik said. “We turned the ball over too much at times, but overall I was proud of the way we fought tonight and that’s something I said going into this season, I want us to compete each and every night and work to get better. We did compete tonight and our first game of the season, against a team that has won a league title each of the last three years, was definitely a good test for us and will help us get better.”

Kimmerer dropped 13 points in the first half, but he did a lot of his damage in the second half. He helped the Eagles begin pulling away as Hale grabbed a 40-24 lead midway through the third quarter, but the Hurons refused to go away. They responded with 10 unanswered points, including back-to-back threes from Lewis Fleming and J.D. Ellenberger and Rogers City cut the lead to six.

Kimmerer put the team on his back and scored the final 13 points for Hale to give his team a 46-36 lead after three quarters.

Rogers City once again continued to battle, scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to five, but just when the game got close, Hale would find a way to extend its lead.

Trailing 54-44 with three minutes to play, Ponik and the Hurons revved up the intensity and it led to turnovers and another pair of back-to-back threes, this time from Ellenberger and Lewis Fleming as Rogers City cut the lead to four with just under three minutes to play.

“Hale is a good team, obviously they have Kimmerer who’s going to be playing at the next level, they have nine seniors and I was proud of what happened in this first game and proud of where we’re at,” Ponik said. “There was a lot of good stretches we had, but then a lot of bad ones where we need to fix those things. I give the boys credit, they worked hard tonight. I’m proud of them for making the effort and giving ourselves a chance to come back. We got it to within four and a few different things happen and it could have been a different outcome, but I’m proud of effort.”

The Hurons were forced to foul late and Hale made 11 of 14 free throws down the stretch to close the game out and hang on for the win.

Along with Kimmerer’s 36, Keaton Ludwig added 12 points and David Wanty chipped in nine points for the Eagles.

Lewis Fleming paced Rogers City with a team high 16 points. Nick Freel added 13 points and Ellenberger finished with 11 points in the losing effort.

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BOX SCORE: Field goals made/Free throws made/Free throws attempted/Total points

HALE (67): J. Kimmerer, 9 14-18 36; K. Ludwig, 5 2-2 12; G. Beebe, 1 4-6 6; T. Kangas, 2 0-2 4; D. Wanty, 3 3-4 9.

ROGERS CITY (57): N. Freel, 5 2-4 13; C. Streich, 0 1-2 1; J. Fleming, 1 1-2 3; J. Ellenberger, 3 2-5 11; L. Fleming, 7 0-3 16; D. LaFleche, 1 0-0 2; D. Flewelling, 2 2-2 6; M. Newhouse, 2 1-2 5.

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