EVART – Evart’s boys basketball team is looking to turn around its recent misfortunes that have put the Wildcats at 3-5 overall and 0-4 in the Highland Conference.

A scheduled game on Monday night with Marion was postponed because of the weather and next up for Evart is a trip to Pine River on Thursday.

And coach Kris Morgan is banking heavily on the talents of sophomore guard Jared Pattee to help get his team back on the winning path.

The Wildcats lost 67-51 to defending state runners-up in Class C, McBain, in a home Highland Conference game last Friday.

Pattee, making his varsity debut up from the JVs, scored 13 points and had three assists and four steals.

“As of right now, he’s coming off the bench, but he’ll be starting very soon,” Morgan said. “He had a broken wrist and was out for surgery and was just cleared to come back. He played a couple of games (with the junior varsity) with a brace.”

The Ramblers were up 19-5 after the first quarter and 34-21 at halftime. Morgan indicated it might have been the best second period his team has played all season.

But McBain was up 54-35 after the third quarter.

Derek Vongphasouk led the Rambers with 13 points.

Also for the Wildcats, Jarek VanOrder contributed 11 points and eight rebounds, followed by Preston Boyd with 10 points and Jesse Lang with six rebounds.

As for Pine River, “they’ve been doing pretty good lately,” Morgan said. “They’re going to a little smaller lineup. I expect another good game. We’re going to have to play like we did against McBain and play hard. I think it will help having more practices to get Pattee, our point guard, more ready for games.”

VanOrder, Morgan noted, has seen plenty of attention from opposing defenses.

“He usually has been getting a lot of double-teaming,” Morgan said. “Whenever he gets the ball down low, he makes any type of move and there’s another guy collapsing on him. They do seem to concentrate on him. He gets kind of frustrated with it. But he can handle it.

“That’s one of the main reasons I wanted Pattee up there. Sometimes, they would take another defender off of one of our guys and would double-team Jarek. If we have five stellar offensive players up there, you would have to think that double-team would hurt them. Once we have Pattee up there, they’re going to have a hard time using that double team.”