SSC drops one to Falcons
WEST BRANCH — Ogemaw Heights' up-and-down boys’ basketball season continued its latest upswing on Friday as the Falcons rolled past injury-ridden Standish-Sterling 58-37.
"We seem to be getting a little more consistent," said Falcon coach Jon VanOosten. "We still have a lot of work to do. In fairness to Standish, they're really struggling with injuries. But we've made some changes in some things we do, and the kids are gaining more confidence."
Neither team had much offensive rhythm in the first half, which ended with the Falcons holding a 19-15 lead.
Ogemaw broke the game open in the third quarter by outscoring the Panthers 19-5, holding SSC to three free throws and a single Cole Walderzak field goal.
The Falcons had six players score in the third quarter run and sealed the game by going 11-of-17 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter.
"We talked at halftime about trying to get to the free throw line more," VanOosten said. "That definitely makes a difference. We've been working at that the past few games."
After a stretch in which a lack of fourth quarter free throw attempts was partially responsible for four straight close losses, the Falcons have won two straight while reversing that trend.
"Our record could be a lot better when I think about those close ones," VanOosten said. "We're just so young, we're just trying to improve each game. It's kind of a cliché and a long-range thing, but that's really where we're at."
After opening the season with three straight losses, the Falcons won four straight, lost four-straight and have now won two in a row.
The Panthers, whose lineup has been in almost continual flux thanks to their unfortunately injury-of-the-week routine, had no one in double figures. Sophomore guard Tanner Trombley led SSC (8-6, 3-4 NEMC) with nine points, with Cole Walderzak adding eight and Mark Lorence seven.
Justin Wejsa was the game's lone double-figure scorer with 10 points. Rob Kish added nine and Eric Noble and Anthony Zettel scored eight each.
Noble and Dee DesJarden, two seniors who saw very little playing time last season, combined for 12 points in the fourth quarter as the Falcons held onto their lead.
"They've both gained some confidence and are shooting better," VanOosten said. "They've stepped up quite a bit, and it's helped the other guys too. We're coming along."
The Falcons (6-7, 4-4) host Gladwin in a snow make-up on Monday at 7 p.m. for a varsity-only contest, then host Oscoda on Tuesday in a doubleheader with the girls team.