Down to the wire: Beal City edges Evart boys

Wildcats unable to pull it out at the end

EVART – It came down to the wire again for Evart on Friday but the last second breaks didn’t go the Wildcats’ way in a 46-44 Highland Conference boys loss to first-place Beal City on Friday.

It was Snowcoming night for Evart and the Wildcats trailed the Aggies and McBain by one game in the conference standings going into this contest.

Evart led 14-10 after the first quarter. Noah Vanderlinde scored eight points in the second quarter and the Wildcats led 25-20 at halftime.

It was 28-20 in the third before Beal City went on an 8-point run. VanderLinde scored again for a 30-28 lead. The Aggies were up 35-34 after the third quarter ended.

The Aggies went on a run in the fourth for a 43-34 lead.

Vanderlinde scored with 1:40 to play to cut the BC lead to 46-44. The Wildcats got the ball back but could not convert. Evart got the ball back with 17.5 seconds left on a Beal City turnover. Marcel White’s 3-point attempt failed and the Aggies went to the line with 3.8 seconds left. Josh Wilson missed both free throws but the Wildcats didn’t have a time out and a desperation half-court shot at the buzzer by Vanderlinde bounced off the backboard.

Vanderlinde led Evart with 18 points followed by Kamden Darling with nine, Marcel White with seven and Jordin Albright with five.

“Noah had a great game tonight,” Evart coach Kris Morgan. “Our last game against Roscommon, he had 17. He’s really bringing us that toughness. He’s physical and works hard.”

“It was one tough game for us,” Vanderlinde said. “We just had to come and work hard and bring our all. It was our homecoming game and we had to bring the best we could.”

Cayden Smith had 13 points for Beal City.

“It was a physically tough game but I thought Evart played real well,” Beal City coach Cam Gartrell said. “Kris always does a fantastic job. They’re well coached and they have some pretty good athletes. They made it tough on us tonight.”

“We’re still working on execution at the end and finishing games,” Morgan said. “We had a good start and fought back in the fourth quarter. We had our chances. You can’t ask for anything else.”

Beal City is 7-1 in the league and 10-1 overall. Evart falls to 5-3 and 6-5 and is home with Manton on Thursday.