DEWITT – Jaden Sutton knew he needed to step up in order for the Waverly boys basketball team to have a successful season.
And the senior guard has elevated his game for the Warriors in the season’s early stages.
Sutton added to his strong start with another big performance Friday to help Waverly pick up a key early league victory.
Sutton had 25 points to lead the Warriors to a 68-65 Capital Area Activities Conference Red victory over defending league champion DeWitt.
“DeWitt is a great team and I think we definitely played a good team game,” Sutton said. “The guys definitely want me to step up so I definitely stepped up. I just wanted to lead them.”
Sutton was a driving force and picked things up in the second quarter to help Waverly (4-1, 1-1 CAAC Red) gain control after a slow start, capping the period with a 3 as the half ended. Sutton added 16 points in the second half and hit key free throws late that helped Waverly fend off a late charge by DeWitt (2-4, 1-2).
“(Jaden is) the quickest guy in mid-Michigan, number one,” Waverly coach Craig Fields said. “And number two, now he knows how to slow down at the rim and make good decisions and things like that. He’s playing exceptional and how he goes is how we’re going to go, I think. He brings a lot to the table and he’s doing a great job of leading right now. Hopefully, that can keep going.”
Sutton’s play Friday capped a big week for Waverly, which also picked up a win over Everett on Tuesday.
And Fields is encouraged by what he has seen a month into the season.
“(Our confidence) is pretty good right now,” Fields said. “Coming into the year we knew we had a lot of new guys. (They were) not actually young, but new guys. We thought it would take a little longer to get going, but they’ve stepped up. They are feeling good about themselves and we’ve just got to keep it going.”
DeWitt, which was led a game-high 27 points by Tanner Reha, is still trying to find itself on the court with several new faces playing major varsity minutes. Coach Ron Marlan thought his team was hurt Friday by its struggles in the middle portion of the game.
“That’s kind of the way we’ve been,” Marlan said. “We’re kind of young in certain spots. It’s not necessarily glaring errors that hurt us. It was kind of little things here and there and they’re spread around. Each person makes one little mistake and it’s a one-possession game. You can’t make those little mistakes and expect to win against good teams like Waverly. They battled hard and I give them a lot of credit for how they finished the game. They fought back. We just had a little letdown there in the second and third quarter.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.