IONIA — Just when it looked like the Portland boys basketball season might be coming to an end, it didn’t.
The Raiders were facing an 11-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter of Monday’s Class B regional semifinal game against Olivet. And in the final minutes, Portland was able to come out on top.
The Raiders outscored the Eagles, 22-8, in the fourth quarter to rally back and win, 55-52. Portland will take on conference foe Williamston, which took down No. 1-ranked Wyoming Godwin Heights in the earlier regional semifinal game, at 7 p.m. Wednesday for a regional title.
The Raiders’ Owen Russell hit a 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining to get his team within one point of Olivet. A few moments later, the freshman was fouled on a 3-point attempt and knocked down all three free throws to give his team a 52-50 lead.
Portland sophomore guard Robert Brandsen scored a game-high 19 points,
“Our seniors are great kids,” said Raiders coach Dave Pettit, whose team didn’t lead until Russell’s free throws late in the final quarter. “(Robert Brandsen) has really become more of an upperclassmen now.
“It was just a gritty performance, really. We had to work really, really hard against a good team. You don’t want to get down 17 at half. I know that.”
Portland senior Brett Patrick scored 15 points.
Senior Delbert Redfield led Olivet in scoring with 11 points. Junior big man Ryan Wallenberg added 10 points, and junior guard Jake Holzhei added nine points.
The Raiders will be playing in their first regional title game during the eight-year tenure of coach Pettit.
Contact James L. Edwards III at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.