Evart boys basketball uses strong defense in win over Pine River

EVART— Just 24 hours after using its offense to beat Beaverton, the Evart Wildcats had to rely on their defense to pull off the win against Pine River on Wednesday night.

Evart's boys basketball Wildcats wrapped up their week 2-0 after scoring the win over Pine River. Evart relied on defense this time around in its battle over the Bucks, holding Pine River to two points in the third quarter en route to a 39-31 victory. The Wildcats, who also won on Tuesday, improved to 4-3 on the season.

Assistant coach Sean Gray was the main coach for the evening after head coach Kris Morgan was ejected against Beaverton during Tuesday's game.

"We had two big wins coming out of Christmas break, I was a little scared coming out of Christmas break because we've had kids flipping in and out of practices and not showing up and just holiday schedule, and they haven't come out with two big wins," Gray said. "It was pretty, pretty good week."

It was a low scoring affair throughout the contest, with Evart only hold a one-point lead at halftime 17-16. In the third quarter, the Wildcats locked down, only allowing one basket and pulling away to a 31-18 lead.

"I was pretty big on halftime that we needed to pressure them more to get up onto them and pressure it," Gray said. "I didn't even know that we held them to two points until the boys brought it up in the lockerroom. I noticed they weren't strong ball handlers. So we got up and put pressure on them and I think it worked to our benefit."

The leading scorer for the Wildcats was Jordin Albright with 11 points. Marcel White finished with nine while Kamden Darling finished with eight points.

"I think we've been working hard over the Christmas break," Albright said. "I think we just knew that it was important to come out and win these two games to try to clutch up the conference. We've just been working over the break and I think that's just helps a lot."

Pine River falls to 2-4. They will look to improve upon that record at home against Manton on Friday.

"Turnovers. Our staff said 30 turnovers and I think that might be a little bit low," coach Brian Goodenow said. "You just can't win with turnovers. Every turnover is a missed opportunity and added opportunity for them. So that's the biggest story of the game. We've got to be stronger."

Evart will be at home against McBain Northern Michigan Christian on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.

Pine River won the JV game 47-30.