Last Tuesday, Battle Creek Central lost in a rivalry game against Benton Harbor. Since then, the Bearcats have had two came cancellations, and four days off of school (including Wednesday).
The point being, the Bearcat boys have had a long time to think about their loss, and not a lot of practice time — so how would they respond when they finally did get to take the floor?
The Bearcats received their answer on Wednesday as Battle Creek Central defeated Marshall, 63-55, in this Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference East Division boys’ basketball contest at Marshall.
Mafiaion Joyner scored 19 points -17 of which game in the first half – as Battle Creek Central was able to shake off its loss to the Tigers by getting back on the winning track.
“In the first half, we were just kinda off our stride,” said BCC head coach Greg Williams. “We haven’t played in so long. I think in the second half we were able to get more of a tempo that we wanted.”
After one quarter, the Bearcats clung to a slim 14-13 lead, but the Redhawks scored the first five points of the second to make the score 18-14 .
With 3:40 to play in the first half, Marshall’s Jacob Brubaker drained a 3-point basket to knot the score at 23 apiece.
Brubaker played big for Marshall all night, finishing as the game’s leading scorer with 30 points. He hit four 3-pointers in the game, and added five rebounds for the Redhawks.
“He did everything. He’s a fearless kid,” said Marshall head coach Nick Dent. “Against a team like BCC, some kids don’t go to the hole strong because they’re afraid of getting blocked. He gets to the rim and he’s confident, and for a sophomore it’s impressive.”
The Bearcats would respond with seven straight points to make it 30-23, with Joyner scoring eight of his 17 first-half points in the second quarter.
“Mafiaion (Joyner) brings a lot of energy. He just really wants the ball – he’s a scorer,” said Williams. “We needed him out there tonight…he kept us in it. You’ve gotta have someone who can do that for you until you get your stride.”
At halftime, the Bearcats led, 30-27. The third quarter was low scoring for both teams, but BCC maintained a slight edge, sending the game into the fourth with the Bearcats on top, 43-35.
The story of the fourth quarter was Brubaker, who scored 15 points in the quarter for the Redhawks. Unfortunately for Marshall, though, BCC had an answer for all of those points.
“It was a conference game, and we’re 7-0 in the conference now,” said Williams of his SMAC East first-place squad. “That was important for us, to come on the road and make sure we took care of business and got this win.”
For the Bearcats, Joyner scored 19 points, followed by Joseph Bowser, Mohammed Albagami, and Curtis Trigg, all of whom finished with eight points for BCC.