Preston Boyd and Tyler Mishler scored 11 points apiece to lead Evart past Marion 48-43 Tuesday night, Feb. 15, in Highland Conference play.

“We’re doing it the hard way but they’re finding ways to win games down the stretch,” said Evart coach Matt Alexander. “We’re growing and getting more experience as a team. When things aren’t going the way you want them to and you walk away with a W, that’s a big positive.”

Evart was coming off a 47-41 win over Manton on Monday.

Marion, led by Jarrod Brown with 11 points, falls to 4-10 and 1-9.

Evart brought a 25-24 lead into the second half.

Devon VanOrder drove to score with a minute left in the quarter to cut Marion’s lead to 35-32 and Preston Boyd added a triple to tie the game 30 seconds later.

Jesse Lang, Jarek VanOrder and Mishler scored consecutive baskets to open the fourth quarter for a 41-35 Evart advantage. Both teams struggled to score early in the quarter. With 1:14 left in the quarter Jarrod Brown hit two free throws to cut Evart’s lead to 44-43 with a minute to play. Marion got the ball back on a jump ball but turned the ball over with 41.6 seconds to play. With 39.9 seconds to go, Mishler missed two free throws, giving Marion a chance to take the lead.

Jesse Lang grabbed the defensive rebound with 22.1 seconds to play when Brown missed a 10-footer. Lang hit both free throws for a 46-43 lead.

Nicholas Bowman missed a 3-pointer with two seconds left and Lang grabbed the rebound. He hit two free throws to seal the win.

“We struggled,” Alexander said of his team’s free-throw shooting. “I told my assistant coaches it will be won or loss on the free throw line. Jesse hit some big free throws for us. I thought he took over the fourth quarter for us. He was the difference in that game. He really stepped his game up that fourth quarter.”

Evart lost at Pine River 48-27 on Friday.

“It was a difference of two halves,” Alexander said. “In the first half, we played really well. We were down one at halftime. The kids were playing great defense. In the second half, our defense was still good. They started hitting some shots and we couldn’t find the bottom of the rim. Jesse Lang led us with 11 points. My four other starters combined for 11 points. We had an off night of shooting the ball.”

Evart is 7-8 overall and 4-5 in the conference.

Evart’s next game is Thursday night at home against McBain. Monday’s home game with Evart was snowed out.

McBain is still unbeaten in conference play.

EVART GIRLS

Evart fell to 9-9 overall with a 67-41 girls basketball loss to McBain on the road Thursday night.

Courtney Hooker scored 12 points and has six assists for Evart while Magdalen Hyde and Kortney Dennis had seven apiece.

“They had a good game and we made the little errors that made it impossible to come back,” said Evart senior Karena Hipkins.

McBain is undefeated in the Highland.

Beal City is at Evart Friday night in the regular-season finale. On Monday, Evart is home against undefeated Clare in a first-round Class C district game.

“They have a couple of good players we have to shut down so we have to work on our zone to stop those two players,” Hipkins said.