Josh Borta started off making all of DeWitt’s baskets on Friday night against CAAC Red rival Haslett.
He then made enough at the end of the game to lift the Panthers to a win.
Borta scored the first 10 points for DeWitt then had nine points in the final 1:23 in a 63-54 win. Borta led all scorers with 27 points.
“He’s a three-year varsity player for us and he’s a tremendous athlete and we run a lot of things for him,” DeWitt coach Ron Marlan said of Borta. “He did an awesome job tonight, not only his ability to score, but his rebounding and his defense and he does a lot of things for us other than just score. He affects the game in a lot of ways.”
Borta knocked down his first four shots of the night, including two 3-pointers, as DeWitt (3-2, 3-0) jumped out to an early 10-2 lead. The Panthers extended the lead to 10 at halftime before Haslett (3-3, 1-2) started to come back.
Senior Patrick Harney, who had 15 points, hit all three of his 3-pointers in the third quarter to tie the game at 35, but a layup by DeWitt’s Evan Smith right before the buzzer put the Panthers back in front by two heading into the final quarter.
“They got off to a quick start and we did not,” Haslett coach Chris Smith said. “We were standing a lot on offense, movement wasn’t good.
“Once we got to the second half, our offense improved greatly with much more ball movement and movement without the ball. I think we had to expend a lot of energy just to get back to the point where we were even.”
DeWitt built the lead back to six at 48-42 with a 3 by Smith with 3:35 left to play, but Haslett kept coming back with 3s.
Senior Travis Tahaney hit his only field goal of the game from beyond the arc off an inbounds pass to cut the lead in half, then sophomore Brandon Allen connected on a 3-pointer to make it 50-48 after a basket by DeWitt’s Andrew Eible.
Allen finished with 20 points for the Vikings.
“Brandon Allen is very tough and they shoot the three ball well,” Marlan said.
Haslett could just never push in front. Eible made another big basket in the paint to bump the lead back up to four points and Borta began his second scoring tear of the night to put the game away.
“We came and we wanted to win this really bad,” Borta said. “Last year it came down to the last shot, and we just really wanted to win. We were waiting for it. We had break and we had days off.”
Eible and senior Ray Stein each added 10 points for the Panthers
“We talked a lot before the game about how we were 2-0 and they were 1-1 and if we could put them two games back after three games, that was going to put them in quite a hole,” Marlan said.
“We knew they were going to come out and play hard because this was a big game for them. For us to get this victory, I’m just so pleased for how hard our kids played.”