AGS boys’ go on fourth quarter run to beat Eagles
AUGRES — Arenac Eastern didn't quit on Thursday's latest installment of the long-standing rivalry between the Eagles and AuGres-Sims, but the Wolverines wouldn't be denied.
Eastern came all of the way back from a 17-point second-quarter deficit, but the Wolverines used a lightning-quick 16-point run to start the fourth quarter and hung on for a 62-49 victory.
“All things considered, I thought we played very well," said AGS coach Gordie Ostrander. "We were flat for about a quarter, but overall it was as unselfish as we've played."
The Wolverines looked as though they would run away with it early as Chad Taylor and A.J. Baker combined to score 15 points in the opening period, which ended with Taylor's buzzer-beating 3-pointer giving AGS a 23-15 lead.
The Wolverines continued to pull away in the second quarter as Kyle Gingerich and Connor Pendred each hit 3-pointers. AGS led 36-19 with two minutes left in the half, but then the well went dry.
The Eagles scored the final eight points of the first half, then opened the third quarter with another six points to pull to within 36-33.
"AuGres probably shot 65 percent in the first quarter and a half," said AE coach Bob Morgan. "It's hard to stop that.
"We didn't give up. I'm not disappointed; they got us in a big hole but we came out strong in the second half and made a good run."
The Wolverines' stemmed the tied with baskets from Alex Lutz, Taylor (off a Lutz steal) and Nate Jennings, but freshman Joey Kramer came off the bench to score six quick points to pull AE to within 42-41.
That was enough to awaken the Wolverines. Pendred closed out the third quarter with two points, and Taylor opened the fourth with a 3-pointer and a steal and layup. Lutz hit a pair of free throws after a technical foul and followed that up with a 3-pointer for a 54-41 lead that took just two minutes to build.
Jennings and Taylor each scored to finish off the 16-point run that put the game out of reach.
"We kind of fell apart at the end," Morgan said. "Chad had some big steals and A.J. had some big rebounds in the fourth quarter that really hurt us, but I saw some good things."
"We hustled on defense and our press forced the tempo early on and in the fourth quarter," Ostrander said. "AE's front line is huge. We gave up some offensive rebounds and still have work to do. But hopefully we can keep it going the right direction now."
Graham Morgan had 11 points and 16 rebounds for AE (1-7, 0-5 NSL) with Kramer adding 10 points and Nick Phelan eight.
Taylor led the Wolverines (4-5, 3-3) with 23 points and six steals. Lutz added 11 points and seven assists while Baker had seven points and 10 rebounds and Pendred scored seven.