Battle Creek Central got off to a quick start on opening night, leading the game from start to finish in convincing fashion against the visiting Hastings Saxons.
BCC defeated Hastings, 60-32, in this non-conference boys’ basketball contest on Tuesday at Battle Creek Central High School.
Seven 3-pointers from the Bearcats contributed to the one-sided win.
“In the first game, you’re gonna have some jitters,” said Battle Creek Central head coach Greg Williams. “In the first half, we didn’t rebound the ball very well. [Hastings] hit a couple threes, and it just seemed like they slowed the tempo of the game down because we were putting them on the free-throw line.”
The Bearcats committed 14 fouls in the first half, allowing the Saxons to go 8-for-12 from the stripe in the half.
But even with 14 fouls, no player for Battle Creek had more than two fouls, which speaks to the depth that BCC has.
“We had to go to the bench and play some young guys who I hadn’t planned on playing that much,” said Williams. “But we always talk about that – you’ve gotta be ready to step up.”
The Bearcats’ Curtis Trigg scored the first six points of the game, and then a 3-pointer by Joseph Bowser had them up 9-0 to start the game.
Hastings was finally able to get on the board late in the first quarter, but trailed 14-4 going into the second.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Mohammed Albagami and Mafiaion Joyner increased Battle Creek Central’s lead to 20-4 early in the second quarter, but then the foul trouble began to catch up with the Bearcats.
The Saxons made seven free throws in the quarter, which helped Hastings go on a 15-6 run to end the half. Also contributing to the run were 3-pointers from Peter Beck and Danny Sprague.
After going into halftime with a score of 26-19, Hastings came out of the locker room with four more points, pulling to within three.
That was when the Bearcats decided enough was enough. Another set of back-to-back 3-pointers, this time from Joyner and Bowser, stretched the lead to nine with 4:02 remaining in the third quarter. They would finish the quarter on a 12-2 run, and went into the fourth holding onto a 38-25 advantage.
It was more of the same in the final quarter of play, with the Battle Creek Central outscoring Hastings 22-7. Albagami and Dontell Hardy each hit 3-point shots in the quarter as the Bearcats cruised to a 60-32 final score.
“It was a tale of two halves,” said Williams. “We were able to come out in the second half and really get it going a little bit.”
Leading all scorers was Joyner with 15 points. He also added four assists and three rebounds.
Trigg finished the game with 12 points, while Wendell White led the Bearcats in rebounds with six.
“We’re capable of being a real good team, it’s just that we’ve gotta let the game come to us, but I’m pretty pleased,” Williams said.
For the Saxons, Beck tallied 10 points and had nine rebounds.