By Luke Sloan
SALINE – The Saline boys basketball team fell to the Chelsea Bulldogs 44-34 on senior night at Saline High School.
In honor of Senior night, Saline head coach Jake Fosdick made a slight lineup adjustment, slotting in Senior guard Nate Gresser for Emmett Turner to achieve a senior filled starting five. Also recognizing his graduating seniors, Fosdick’s first two substitutions off the bench were Seniors Sean Millspaugh and Nick Herrin.
In the early going the contest lived up to its low scoring, defensive billing, with only 15 total points scored in the first quarter of play. Saline came up on the right end of the tussle, leading the Bulldogs 11-4 after one. The second quarter of action proved to be not as favorable for the Hornets. Chelsea pitched a second quarter shutout, holding the Hornets offense scoreless. The Bulldogs also exploded for 15 points to take a 19-11 lead over the Hornets going into halftime.
“When we were scoring in the first I didn’t like the shots we were getting,” said Fosdick on his team’s offensive performance. We wanted to get the ball in the short corner, we struggled all night to try and get the ball inside to Calder (Pelerin) and Emmett (Turner). That was our plan coming in, we did a poor job of adjusting. We were too passive, we need to do a better job of being aggressive trying to get to the basket.”
Consistent with the opening quarter of play, defense prevailed once again in the third, as both teams combined to score only 14 third quarter points. Saline bounced back to win the third quarter 8-6, but still trailed the Bulldogs 25-19 heading into the fourth. The offense hit its peak in the last quarter, with both teams establishing or tying a game high for points in a quarter. This was not enough for the Hornets, though, as Saline went on to lose the quarter 19-15 and the game 44-34.
Emmett Turner led all Hornet scorers, putting up 13 points. All of Saline’s starting seniors got in the scorebook, with Jake Finkbeiner scoring 6 points, Ryan Foley scoring 5 points, Justin Zylstra scoring 3 points and Calder Pellerin scoring 2 points. Seniors Nate Gresser and Sean Millspaugh also put up points in their final home game, scoring 3 and 2 points, respectively.
Prior to the game the Hornets honored nine outstanding Seniors who have ingrained a winning culture of hard work, dedication, and passion into the Saline men’s basketball program. The celebrated Seniors include Ryan Foley, Nate Gresser, Mitch Carter, Nick Herrin, Jake Finkbeiner, Preston Filla, Sean Millspaugh, Calder Pellerin, and Justin Zylstra. Thank you Seniors for everything you have done for this program and school. Spearheaded by your talent and leadership Saline hoops are back and better than ever!
“I love these guys, they’ve definitely made me a better coach and a better person,” Fosdick said of his Senior class. “I’ve lived in Saline my whole life, this is the toughest group of kids I’ve ever met from Saline. These seniors remained committed through the hard times of Saline basketball, that is why they are such a great group of seniors, that’s why I love them so much, they believed in me.”
This loss drops the Hornets overall record to 13-7 while their conference record remains at 6-4. Saline will next take the court Monday evening against the Huron River Rats in the first round of the highly anticipated district tournament.
“We are about responding,” said Fosdick “We are going to feel this one tonight and wake up tomorrow with a bad taste in our mouths. The best mouthwash for losing is winning, we get another opportunity to fight and win. Everyone in our locker room knows we can beat Huron.”