KALAMAZOO – In a key early-season rivalry game, Battle Creek Central’s showed its youth as it lost in a one-sided contest to Kalamazoo Central
Kalamazoo Central rolled to an 81-48 win over Battle Creek Central in this Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division boys’ basketball game
“In a big rivalry game, it’s the cliché that we throw the records out the window,” said Kalamazoo head coach Ramsey Nichols. “We knew Battle Creek was gonna come in and play hard. They’re a young team right now, but coach Williams does it the right way. By midseason they’ll be in good form.”
Devon Daniels got off to a hot start with 14 first-quarter points, including two 3-point baskets and high-flying reverse dunk that got the crowd roaring as the home team ended the first quarter leading 20-7.
Daniels led all scoring with 29 points and added five rebounds.
“He got off to a great start,” said Nichols. “He was shooting the ball really well, and those were all shots within our offense. He’s come into practice and he’s been one of the hardest workers. He’s been showing a lot of leadership and a lot of maturity. Right now I think everything is just coming together for him.”
Battle Creek Central head coach Greg Williams agreed with Nichols: “He’s a great athlete. And he works at it. Great athletes work at it. He spends time in the offseason and gets in the weight room. He does all the things that serious athletes do because he’s a serious athlete.”
The Bearcats found themselves down by 21 points early in the second quarter, but six quick points by Wendell White helped regain some BCC confidence. It didn’t last long, though, because the Giants scored the final five points of the first half and went into the locker room with a 41-19 advantage.
Early in the second half, Ontario Burnett drained a 3-pointer to increase the Kalamazoo Central lead to 30 points, but the Bearcats again scored six quick points to close the gap slightly.
The Giants again regained momentum and had a 30-point lead, 62-32, heading into the final eight minutes of play. Early in the fourth quarter, Orlando Little made a layup to give Kalamazoo Central their largest lead of the game at 35 points. Little scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth quarter.
White led the Bearcats with 19 points, including two 3-pointers, and led all players with 12 rebounds. Julieon Cooper also had nine boards to go along with his four points for BCC.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” said Williams. “We’ve got three sophomores and four guys that did not come on the trip tonight, so we only had nine guys. That’s a good ball club. They’ve got all their starters back, and that’s the way it’s supposed to look like. I’ve been on both ends of [game like this].
“We’ve just gotta put some work in with fundamentals. We got horribly out-rebounded tonight and we’ve gotta be stronger with the basketball. I really like my team. Now we play Monday and we play Tuesday, and then we’ll have four or five days before we play again.”