Evart boys lose first game

Evart coach Kris Morgan
Evart coach Kris Morgan

EVART — Forest Area put together four consistent quarters and handed Evart a 60-44 setback in the non-league season opener for both basketball teams on Monday.

Forest Area used its height advantage and inside game for a 26-20 halftime lead.

“Both teams came out a little jitterish, it’s the first game of the year,” Warriors coach Ryan Magee said. “We settled in and had a little streak. If we didn’t have that little streak when we pulled away, they stayed right with us.”

Billy Conklin netted a 3-pointer for the Wildcats, who trailed 11-7 going into the second period.

Cameron Martin’s triple gave Forest Area a 15-13 lead midway in the second quarter. But the Warriors went on an 11-5 run, led by center Garrett Bybee-Mullins, who had six points in the second quarter and 10 overall in the first half.

It was the Warriors’ outside game that hurt the Wildcats in the third period. Consecutive 3-pointers by Chase Ingersoll put Forest Area up 35-22 at 5:55. He hit another one at 4:52 that bounced off the top of the rim and through the hoop for a 38-24 lead at 4:40.

Cortez Bryant scored at 2:25 and the Warriors’ lead was 40-32. It was 48-35 after three.

The Warriors maintained their edge throughout the fourth quarter and two free throws by Bybee-Mullins made it 58-41 with 3:25 to play. He scored inside again at 2:05 for a huge 60-42 lead.

“We shot 16-for-67 from the field,” Evart coach Kris Morgan said.

“We don’t have a whole lot of scoring coming back. We’re missing Carter (Pritchard) and Caleb (Hutchinson) (from ACL injuries) and Karsten Allen who didn’t play this year.”

Pritchard is having surgery on Tuesday and said Hutchinson is hoping to return in February.

Zac McLeod and Ingersoll had 21 points apiece while Bybee-Mullins added 14. Bryant and Martin had 10 apiece for Evart.

“This was a good way to open the season,” Magee said. “It kind of showed we have to play a full four quarters. This team wasn’t just going to let us walk out of here.”

The Wildcats don’t play again until Dec. 13 when they are at McBain Public for Highland Conference action.

“We have to find a better way to put the ball in the basket,” Morgan said. “They owned us underneath and had a lot more rebounds than we did. I stressed to the guys we have to do the little things.”