Evart boys fall to Lake City, defeat Manton

EVART — A 1-1 week ended on Friday for the Evart boys basketball team with a 56-48 loss to Lake City.

Evart was down 31-30 at halftime and was up 44-41 after the third. Evart was  outscored 24-7 in the final eight minutes.

“I thought we played about 3 1/2 quarters of really good basketball,” said Evart coach Kris Morgan. “I thought pretty much we were winning most phases of the game. The last half of the last quarter, a couple of turnovers, we tried to force the ball inside to Chris Garner too much, and they shot 16 free throws in the fourth and made 12 of them. We shot four free throws for the whole game.”

Garner scored 14 points for Evart and had seven rebounds. Tre Dyer had 10 points and hit some key 3-pointers for the Wildcats.

“We knew coming into it that the Marion boys would do most of their scoring,” Morgan said. “Drew ended up with 20 points and his brother Lucas ended up with 18 points. Drew is a forward and Lucas is a center.”

Evart is 7-8 overall and 4-6 in the league entering games this week. They had Beal City at home Tuesday and are at Marion this Thursday

Meanwhile, they were coming off an 0-3 mark last week, and the Wildcats were looking for a better start Tuesday (Feb. 11).

They got it with Nolan VanOrder scoring 13 points in a 58-46 Highland Conference boys basketball victory over Manton.

The Wildcats improved to 7-7 overall and 4-5 in the Highland.

“I thought we played pretty well coming into the game shorthanded a little bit,” said Morgan, who had been without players for eligibility and other issues in recent games. “Some guys stepped up.”

Both teams had a sluggish start to the game. The Wildcats, bolstered by Robbie Tapling’s 3-pointer, eventually caught fire and led 9-5 after the first quarter. All of Manton’s points came from 6-4 center Tyler Swing.

“I thought we had a pretty good game plan coming in,” Morgan said. “We knew Tyler Swing, their big man, really hurt us last game. We came in with a combined team effort on double-downing on him, forcing the ball out of his hands and letting someone else (try) to beat us from the outside.”

Derek Bowen netted a 3-pointer in the second quarter and, with Josh Decator hitting four points from off the bench, Evart built a 21-10 lead after Jared Pattee’s 3-point play. Brock Clough and Trey Helsel both hit threes to help the Rangers get back in the game. Nolan VanOrder’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave his team a 26-19 lead at halftime.

Evart opened the second half with four unanswered points. Tapling drove the baseline for a field goal and followed with a trey at 5:11 for a 35-21 Wildcat lead. Larry VanBuren followed with a layup and Evart’s defense continued to bother Manton. Trey Dyer picked up his fourth foul midway in the quarter and Pattee drew his fourth later in the period.

VanOrder’s triple at the one-minute mark gave Evart a 45-31 lead. The Wildcats were up 47-33 going into the fourth. Evart continued to put tight coverage on Swing who wound up with 16 points.

Dyer hit two straight baskets for a 54-39 lead with 2:59 to play. He, Tapling and Pattee both fouled out during the quarter. Manton had one player foul out.

Evart struggled with their free-throw shooting in the final two minutes, missing eight straight at one stage, and giving Manton a chance to rally. Robert Burge hit two foul shots for a 56-46 lead at the 0:40 mark and the Rangers were unable to stay close.

“At the end, we didn’t seal it,” Morgan said. “We should have sealed it a long time ago.”

Manton falls to 4-5 in the league and 6-8 overall.

“Evart played hard, was very physical with us and took us out of our game,” said Manton coach Ryan Hiller “They did a great job of contesting all of our shots. I thought their coach did a lot of good adjustments on us. Hats off to him.”