EVART - It's the halfway point of the boys basketball season but the Evart Wildcats have apparently picked up the momentum at the right time.

A 54-49 win over Manton evened the Wildcats' record to 5-5 overall and improved it to 4-5 in the Highland Conference.

Justin Buckner scored 19 points while Haidyn Simmer had 15 and Cam Brasington 14 for the winners.

"We fell behind 22-10 at the first quarter," Evart coach Kris Morgan said. "They started hot. Jacob Haun hit four threes and a two in the first (for Manton). We rode their initial wave and hung around. We were down eight at the half, 30-22.

"We talked at the half about cleaning a few little things up. We were handling their pressure and press, but still struggling to finish. We started finishing at the rim and they switched to a 2-3 zone. But Justin Buckner hit three 3-pointers to shoot them out of the zone."

The game was tied going to the fourth.

"We were actually up by seven or eight with a minute to go," Morgan said. We hit enough free throws and withstood their 3-point barrage at the end of the game to win it."

Evart lowered Manton's record to 7-3.

"It was a very big win for us," Morgan said. "Again defense led the way. Simmer had some huge steals and deflections. We limited their offensive rebounds and worked hard to secure the win."

The Wildcats lost 74-43 on Thursday at McBain and fell to 5-6.

Evart is home on Wednesday against Pine River.