Baraga brings it in postseason

CHASSELL – With just three wins between them this season, the Dollar Bay and Baraga High boys’ basketball teams didn’t have many highlights.

On Monday night, the two teams had a chance for redemption in a Class D district opener at Ed Helakoski Memorial Gym. But it was the Vikings who came in for most of the props in a 55-32 victory.

“I thought we came out strong in the first quarter,” BHS interim coach Scott Artley said afterward. “We focused in on defense and got the job done. That was one of the keys we talked about.”

Baraga mounted an 18-5 advantage after one frame and never looked back in defeating the Bays for the third time this winter.

“We just didn’t come out and play like you should in a district game,” DBHS coach Jesse Kentala commented. “I don’t know what it was … we just weren’t in sync tonight.”

Baraga’s junior forward Zach Owens sparked the fast start by his team by accounting for eight points in the opening stanza.

“He (Owens) is a slasher and he can shoot from outside,” Artley said. “He’s probably our most improved player.”

The Purple and Gold shot to a 34-14 cushion by the intermission as senior forward Brandon Nieskes did some good inside work.

With a 45-22 lead after three periods, Artley was able to clear his bench in the final quarter.

Owens led all scorers in the contest with 17 markers and also managed five steals. Dillion Huckstaedt was good for 10 points, while Nieskes managed nine points and a team-best nine rebounds.

The Bays, closing with a 1-20 mark, received a solid game from sophomore Mike Marcol with nine points and eight rebounds. Cameron Ringler was next with six points and seven boards.

“It was a tough year, but this was a good group of kids who played hard all season,” Kentala noted. “We have a good nucleus coming back and we’ll look to that for next season.”

With a 3-18 mark, the Vikings figure to be a distinct underdog against Chassell in a semifinal match Wednesday night, a fact not lost on Artley.

“Chassell has some good talent and we know they’re going to press us,” he said. “But we’ll show up and see what happens.”