Evart boys prepare for district test

EVART — A new season begins this week for the Evart boys basketball squad, which hopes to make a competitive run for the Class C district title at Farwell.

The Wildcats, 8-10, play White Cloud, 13-8 at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in a district semifinal game. White Cloud defeated Farwell 59-33 in a first-round district game on Monday.

“I expect (Evart) to play hard,” said White Cloud coach Ed Canning. “They’re a very well-coached team. It should be an exciting game.”

The winner of Wednesday’s game will play Clare or Montabella on Friday in the title contest.

“They have a couple of big guys and move the ball well and try to get it inside to them,” Canning said of Evart. “We’ll have to work on our defense to make sure we shore up some those seams in our zone and go from there.”

Evart was 1-1 last week to close out the regular season. On Tuesday, the Wildcats won 68-62 over a McBain Northern Michigan Christian team that was 11-8.

“We played good defense,” said Evart junior Jesse Lang. “We rebounded the ball well.

“It was their parents night so they were kind of pumped,” said Evart’s Preston Boyd. “All their fans were into the game. From the beginning, we had the lead. We were ahead by 19 at one point in the third quarter. They came back to make it a tie game in the fourth. That was depressing. We stuck with it, hit some free throws and some late shots.”

On Thursday, the Wildcats lost 68-40 to a 13-7 Beal City team that broke open an 8-8 tie at the end of the first quarter with a 29-8 explosion in the second period for a 37-15 halftime lead. Beal City was ahead 55-33 after the third quarter and had a 13-7 scoring advantage in the final eight minutes.

Tyler Mishler and Jarek VanOrder had nine points apiece for Evart. Stone Beckwith scored 21 points and Brandon Holdsworth added 14 for Beal City.

Beckwith “had another good game,” Lang said. “Beal City played a good game.”

“We went into a zone and they started picking us apart with 3-pointers,” Boyd said. “We bounced back from that early on. It was 11-9 in the first quarter. We held them to 11 points and played good defense. From there on out, they started hitting shots and we weren’t.”

In Wednesday’s game with White Cloud, “we need to play defense well, rebound well and play as a group,” Lang added.

“They’ve got some good guards,” VanOrder said. “We’ll have to play good defense against them. I think we’re playing better team defense.”

VanOrder was among the Evart players who watched White Cloud play on Monday.

“There’s a huge advantage of going to the game and looking at the competition we’re going to be playing,” he said.