It wasn’t always pretty, but the Harper Creek Beavers battled their way to a 55-52 victory over Sturgis in an exciting Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference Eastern Division boys’ basketball game on Friday night.
The host Beavers struggled offensively early on, scoring just three points in the first quarter and 12 in the second on 24 percent shooting from the field.
Harper Creek (3-4, 2-2 SMAC East) trailed 41-35 going into the fourth quarter, but that’s when they surged, starting the final frame on a 13-2 run.
Alec Fisher’s 3-pointer with 5:00 to play gave Harper Creek its first lead of the game at 42-41, and with less than two minutes to play Fisher hit another big jumper from the baseline, extending the Beavers lead to 50-46.
“We struggled a little bit in the first half, but we got some confidence back and started knocking shots down,” said Fisher, a senior point guard who finished with seven points and four assists. “In the fourth quarter we got the momentum and our guys picked up the intensity and we went from there.”
Harper Creek struggled all night from the free throw line, hitting just 12-of-26 attempts, and it almost came back to bite them as Sturgis got the ball back with under 10 seconds to play and down three points.
The Trojans (4-6) got two looks at 3-pointers to tie the game, but both clanged off the rim and the Beavers held on for the victory.
Harper Creek outscored Sturgis 20-11 in the fourth quarter, with Josh Bass scoring eight of his game-high 19 points in the frame. Bass also had 14 rebounds and two blocks.
“That was a team win and we made plays across the board when we needed them. I’m proud of all our guys for how we hung in there and battled tonight. We’ve been on the verge of being where we want to be, making some plays and getting over the top,” said Harper Creek head coach Matt Bowling. “Tonight we saw that all we have to do is hit a shot or make a play here or there and that will help push us over the top. Hopefully we can take tonight and get a little momentum and run with it.”
Nate Hicks chipped in with 11 points and eight rebounds for the Beavers.
The Trojans were led by Chance Stewart and Patrick Hass, who had 13 points apiece. Jalen Cox scored 12 points and Jack Scheske had 10.