Hale clinches second straight NSL title with victory at AE
TWINING — Arenac Eastern did its best to clog the inside against Hale on Tuesday.
Hale's 3-point shooting touch provided an antidote, and after building a big first half lead provided enough to defeat Arenac Eastern 59-42 and clinch at least a share of Hale's second North Star League title in four years.
Hale was 9-of-21 from 3-point range and hit seven treys in the first half -- including four by Christian Moody -- as it built a 30-16 lead at the half.
"When you see teams the second time around, they have time to prepare for you," said Hale coach Ryan Parkinson. "We saw some of that tonight. We saw some real positive things with the way we shot the ball from 3 and the way we guarded in the first half."
Eastern, which hasn't won since the opening game of the season, had its best shooting night of the season, going 21-of-41 (51 percent).
"We lost but we didn't play poorly," said AE coach Bob Morgan. "It's the first time we've shot better than 35 percent from the field.
"The first quarter was our demise. Our seniors forgot to show up ... Caleb Whitney did a nice job working the ball through their press. We didn't give up and hustled right until the final buzzer."
"We gambled a lot in the third quarter, and to AE's credit they made us pay for it," Parkinson said. "They really rebound the ball well, and I know they are having a tough season, they play hard and clean and it makes you wish good things for them."
Hale held on by outscoring AE 29-26 in the second half.
Tanner Shellenbarger led a balanced Hale (17-1, 12-0 NSL) scoring effort with 16 points, with Christian Mudry adding 14 and Moody adding 12.
"It's been since before Christmas that we've had the same player lead us in scoring two games in a row," Parkinson said. "I think this makes us fun to watch, but mostly it shows the unselfish character of this team."
Graham Morgan had 18 points and 11 rebounds for AE (1-14, 0-11).