The Battle Creek Central boys’ basketball team was feeling happy after Thursday’s opening game of the annual Chuck Turner Holiday Classic at the Fieldhouse.
That glee came as a result of a 47-43 win over Milwaukee South Division on Day 1 of the tourney.
However, things didn’t go as well for the Bearcats on Friday night when they faced Milan.
Carrying a perfect 6-0 record into the game, BCC led Milan by five points late in the second quarter of Friday night’s matchup. But later in the tilt, the Bearcats failed to convert late fourth-quarter free throws, resulting in a Milan Big Reds’ 57-54 victory.
“We left six free throws on the line there,” said Bearcat coach Greg Williams. “We’ve got to step up and hit (our) one-and-ones, and then we wouldn’t have been in this situation.”
In a hole early against the Milan Big Reds, the Bearcats fought back to within four, 11-7, late in the first quarter. A few minutes later, Bearcat guard Mohammed Albagami knocked down a corner three to decrease Milan’s lead to one, 11-10.
Closing out the first quarter on a 10-1 run, the Bearcats carried this momentum into the second quarter as Bearcat guard Ahmed McKinney gave Central a 12-11 lead. But Milan would not give in, capitalizing on a possession with 3:45 left to even the score at 18 apiece.
With the Bearcats up three starting the second half, the Big Reds went on a 4-0 run to take the lead. But a few seconds later, Central guard Mafiaion Joyner hit a corner three and gave Central the lead back, 35-33, with 4:21 remaining in the third.
In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Milan forward Nick Perkins hit a baby hook to make the score even, 41-41, going into the fourth quarter.
Friday night’s contest at the Fieldhouse saw a series of lead changes — especially in the fourth quarter.
With 4:57 left in the game, Central guard JaVont’e Dunbar threw a no-look pass to teammate McKinney underneath the basket that put the Bearcats up two. Two minutes later, Central added on to its lead when a crowd-pleasing ally-oop pass from Albagami to forward David Templeton was slammed home to give the Bearcats a five-point cushion.
But Milan would not be denied, hitting two key free throws late, giving the Big Reds a three-point victory, 57-54.
“They (Milan) took it as us,” said Williams, who was without key starter Curtis Trigg because of family matters. “We will learn from these things. … You always learn more from your losses than your wins.”
Statistically for the Bearcats, Joyner had 18 points and a steal, while Bowser had 12 points, a steal and an assist.
Milwaukee South Division 64, Lakeview 58
In Friday’s other Turner Classic game at the Fieldhouse, despite a comeback effort, Lakeview fell to Milwaukee.
“We got too deep into a whole tonight,” said Spartan coach Steve Wichmann, whose team trailed by 13, 19-6, at the end of the first quarter. “We fought back, we got it to (within) two — (but) we have to stop getting into wholes like that.”
Leading the way for Lakeview (2-3), Spartan guard Tyreace Frederick had 27 points, four rebounds and three assists, while guard Jake Bivens added 10 points, three rebounds and six steals.
Note: Neither Lakeview nor Milan played on Thursday (BCC’s game vs. Milwaukee was the lone game Thursday).