Tapling's late-game shot lifts Evart over McBain NMC

EVART — It came down to the wire Monday night with Evart’s Robert Tapling hitting the winning shot with three seconds left to left the Wildcats to a 55-54 victory in Highland Conference action over host McBain Northern Michigan Christian.

“We were down. It was close the first quarter,” said Evart coach Kris Morgan. “They always play well up there. They shoot the lights out. They were shooting well on threes. We were down 10 going into the fourth and we fought back.”

Evart led 15-14 after the first quarter. NMC led 49-39 going into the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats had to play without various players, including senior center Chris Garner, who were ineligible for the contest.

“We were playing really small ball,” Morgan said. “We just brought up Robert Tapling (from the junior varsity) for his first game. We took the lead back with a minute to go. They scored again and we were down one with 10 seconds to go.”

Evart called time out for a play. NMC put the press on and the Wildcats responded with the pressbreaker.

“Robbie got a wide open play through the press-break with three seconds to go,” Morgan said. “They called a time out and then got a long shot off that was an air ball.”

Jared Pattee had 18 points while Jacob Fortune added 16 for Evart. Larry VanBuren had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Tapling had nine points.

VanBuren was not a starter for the game but made key contributions throughout the contest.

“They were really hurting us inside,” Morgan said. “Larry came and picked it up. He brought up our intensity. He’s starting to come around too. He didn’t play last year. He’s figuring out what it takes. He brings energy and toughness to it.”

The win improved Evart’s record to 7-4 and 3-4 in the Highland.

Evart played Manistee on Tuesday and is at Beal City Thursday.

Vestaburg 64, Evart 55

Vestaburg defeated visiting Evart 64-55 Monday night in non-league action. Evart fell to 7-5.

Robert Tapling scored 19 points for Evart.

“We couldn’t put it together,” Morgan said. “Vestaburg played well.”