COLDWATER– The game was all but over. That was until the Harper Creek Beavers mounted a comeback for the ages against the Coldwater Cardinals on Friday night.
Down 11 points to start the fourth quarter, the Beavers used a barrage of 3-pointers and a stifling defense to pull off the 53-49 victory over the Cardinals in Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Interstate Eight conference action held in Coldwater.
It was the Beavers’ guard Brandan Settles who hit the driving layup with 1:14 left to play in the game. The layup, combined with shut-down defense and two late-game 3-pointers by forward David Thompson, all but stitched up the win for Harper Creek.
“They forced me right, and I took it…so might as well.” Settles said. “It was a big win. Keeps the train rolling.”
Looking ahead, Harper Creek (10-7) will play Parma Western on Tuesday. Coldwater has lost six of its last seven games.
Harper Creek opened up the game streaking, as point guard Jeremiah Davis nailed two 3-pointers in a row, forcing a Coldwater timeout with 6:30 left in the first quarter. Coldwater responded after its dead-ball timeout with a guard of its own, Nate Waterbury, as he scored the Cardinals first seven points of the game. After a quarter of play it was tight, 12-10, as neither team could create separation.
In the second quarter, both team’s offenses struggled to manufacture points. Coldwater’s no-help defense on Davis and the Beavers created fits offensively, as Coldwater jumped out to a 21-13 lead before Harper Creek narrowed it to 23-19 at halftime.
Davis, a 5-foot-10 senior, had 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting behind the arc, while the Cardinals’ 5-foot-10 senior Waterbury had 11 points at half.
Combined with a tenacious defense and the ability to force free throws on offense — the Cardinals entered the 1-in-1 bonus with 3:02 left in the third quarter — Coldwater was able to build a double-digit lead, 38-27.
Despite this, Harper Creek managed to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
“Yeah. Yeah. We just made some adjustments and everyone (Coldwater) was focused on Jeremiah (Davis),” Harper Creek coach Matt Bowling said with a smile. “Davis hit a couple big threes there at the end, and we did a good job looking for him. Momentum can carry us a long way. … It’s a big win. It’s a big character win for us.”
Leading the way for the Beavers, Davis had 19 points, while Settles and Thompson finished in double digits with 11.