W-P drops one to winless Owls
WHITTEMORE — Oscoda coach Kirk Franklin had been calling his youthful boys basketball team a "work in progress."
Some of that progress came to fruition at Whittemore-Prescott on Tuesday as the Owls overcame an early deficit to upset W-P 59-46.
Four weeks earlier W-P had run up a 34-7 halftime lead on the Owls on its way to a 57-33 win. The Cards seemed to be on their way to a similar outcome as they burst out to a 9-0 lead in the first 3:30 of the game.
W-P coach Bob Leslie had several starters on the bench to start the game, but it was his makeshift lineup in the opening minutes -- including Kevin Dupuis, Kyle Saunders, Mike Lovett, Kyle Gomez and Billy Raushi -- that actually fared best against the Owls.
"Oscoda played with a lot of heart," Leslie said. "You could tell they were excited after their girls team won (immediately preceding the boys' game) and I think that fired up the boys a bit.
"I warned the boys (about underestimating the Owls). Oscoda played good team ball."
"We were down 21-2 in that first game, and we were very tentative," said Oscoda coach Kirk Franklin. "Tonight we got some good ball movement, starting hitting shots and got more confident."
"It definitely was a team effort," Franklin said. "We started a guy who is playing his first year of organized basketball. When we were down, we had in a lineup that included three sophomores, and they did a great job of stemming the tide."
Sophomore twins Kyle and Brandon McCausey were at the center of the Owls' early comeback. Kyle McCausey scored the first basket of an 11-point Oscoda run that ended with him opening the second quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Owls their first lead. Brandon scored the final two baskets of the first quarter, including a buzzer-beater to cut W-P's lead to one.
Oscoda trailed 29-28 at the half, but a W-P technical foul ignited an 11-0 Oscoda run that included four points from Justin Cain, a 3-point play by Tom Schonfeld and ended with a contested 10-foot jumper from Paul Andrade -- the senior starter playing his first year.
W-P cut Oscoda's lead to five on a couple of occasions, primarily via the 3-point shot despite holding a significant size advantage inside. But after the Owls built a 50-35 lead in the fourth quarter the Cards never got any closer that 51-43 after back-to-back treys from Chris Downes and Kyle Saunders. Cain hit eight fourth-quarter free throws and finished with a team-high 19 points to stave off W-P's comeback.
"Justin's still a work in progress," Franklin said. "He's another kid who didn't have a lot of minutes last year, but he handled the ball well tonight.
"I'm just very, very pleased with the team. After getting smoked the first time we played Whittemore, I'm just very happy with their effort."
Raushi scored 12 points for the Cards (2-5) with Saunders adding nine and Downes eight.
Kyle McCausey had 14 for Oscoda (1-5), which hosts Alcona on Friday.