Battle Creek Central boys’ head basketball coach Greg Williams knew that the further his team made it in the MHSAA Class A boys tournament, the more adversity his club would have to face.
That lesson was proven on Wednesday night during the Bearcats’ 55-49 Class A district semifinal loss to Holt at Lakeview.
“There is a great bunch of guys in that locker room that fought their hearts out and they wanted to move on, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen. I’m so proud of them and their accomplishments,” Williams said of his team which won 19 games on the year and the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference East Division.
In the end, a scary injury to BCC guard Mohammed Albagami overshadowed the result. Albagami was carted out of the gym on a stretcher with 5:43 remaining in the game. The Bearcat junior collided with a Holt player as the two wrestled for a loose ball and Albagami took a shot to the head and was layed out on the court.
The guard was immobilized by medical staff for nearly 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital
“There was a neck injury so we wanted to take precaution,” Williams said. “He was having some pain.”
As of press time there was no word on Albagami’s condition.
After making quick work of a conservative and patient Coldwater team in the district quarterfinals, BCC (19-3) was pitted Wednesday night against a big, aggressive and fast Rams (17-5) squad that had beaten the Bearcats by six points earlier in the season.
“They’ve got really good guards, (Don’Quall) Jackson is a really good guard, he’s a handful. It was just one of those games, a grind-it-out game and we came out on the wrong end of it this time,” Williams said.
The Bearcats’ Trevin Alexander played big in his final game as he netted a game-high 21 points while also pulling down 13 rebounds and dishing out three assists. The big man scored 19 of the Bearcats’ 25 first-half points, going 5-for-5 from behind the 3-point line.
“Our dream was to get to the Breslin and that’s how I wanted to end my senor year, but it didn’t happen. Life continues to go on, I tell the underclassman ‘keep your head up, keep working through the offseason, keep your grades up,”’ Alexander said.
BCC’s Mafaion Joyner added 14 points, five rebounds and three steals.
A buzzer-beating halfcourt shot by Trevor Stone helped propel the Rams back into the game headed into the second quarter and another buzzer-beater, a layup by Stone gave the Rams a 27-25 lead at the half.
Trailing by as many as 11 points early on, those two huge plays swung momentum away from the Bearcats as Holt clawed its way into the lead.
Holt’s Colin Jones, who hit a game-winning shot vs Lakeview on Monday night, had another big game, ending with 14 points, 13 rebounds and three steals.
Jackson scored 13 for Holt while also grabbing four rebounds and Stone netted seven points.
“Holt’s a good team, I knew they’d keep fighting. The game was right there for anyone’s taking. When Mohammed went down,
I believe we were up four, we still had the lead and felt pretty good with about five minutes left in the game. We were in good shape, just couldn’t put the ball in the basket there at the end,” Williams said.