Bark River-Harris boys come back to top Manistique

HARRIS — Finally. That was the feeling for Bark River-Harris boys’ basketball coach Marc Zawacki and the rest of the Broncos’ team here Tuesday night.

After losing eight games by five points or less this season, the Broncos finally got over the hump with a come from behind 62-57 triumph over Manistique in non-conference action.

Sophomore forward Carter Zawacki scored the go-ahead basket with six seconds left off a beautiful pass from senior forward Hunter Debelak to put the Broncos ahead by two. He was also fouled on the play and made the free throw to make it 60-57.

“It feels pretty good,” Carter Zawacki said. “You always dream of hitting the game-winning shot as a kid but I couldn’t have done it without Hunter making that pass.”

The Emeralds (3-14) had one last chance but Nick Javurek stole the inbounds pass with five ticks left and was fouled immediately. He made both free throws to seal the win.

“It feels good to finally close one out,” Carter Zawacki said. “We did it by making our free throws, playing good defense and rebounding. This definitely helps because we need some momentum going into districts. We’re going to make some noise and surprise some people moving forward.”

The Broncos (7-12) trailed 56-50 with 1:31 left before Riley Bray started the rally with a pair of free throws. After the Emeralds failed to score on their next possession, Debelak completed a three-point play with 1:06 remaining to trim the deficit to 56-55.

The Emeralds, playing without their top three guards, turned the ball over on the inbounds and Zawacki was fouled. He made both free throws to make it 57-56.

“Our three guards were sitting on the bench,” Emeralds’ coach Bill Boddy said. “Two of them were fouled out and the other one was in street clothes (Wyatt Gierke). We had guys in unfamiliar places and we were shooting shots we shouldn’t shoot.”

Schyler Andersen hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the game for Manistique on its next possession, and the Broncos called timeout with the ball to set up a play with 37 seconds to go.

The ball ended up in Debelak’s hands with 10 seconds left and he drove from the right side to find an open Zawacki underneath the basket.

“That was a huge pass by Hunter,” Marc Zawacki said. “He made a senior move. Hats off to him for making the extra pass and finding the open guy.”

It was another gut-wrenching loss for the Emeralds, who blew a 10-point lead in a home loss to Gwinn Saturday and had another lead slip away against Newberry Monday.

“This one hurts,” Boddy said. “We’ve blown second half leads quite a bit — whether it’s been Westwood, Gwinn or Newberry. The guys are competing but we have to figure this out.”

Andersen came out on fire, scoring nine of Manistique’s 11 points in the first quarter. He had 17 in the first half, but was forced to sit with his third foul with 3:55 left in the second period. He only scored three more points to finish with 20.

“He’s a good scorer,” Boddy said. “He’s a streaky shooter but when he’s on, he’s on. It’s too bad he picked up his third foul there because I think that got him out of his rhythm.”

The Broncos won their first game decided by five points or less. They entered the fourth quarter trailing by seven and didn’t lead again until Zawacki’s go-ahead layup.

“It definitely feels good,” Marc Zawacki said. “At least seven games went the other way. We had some big plays made by young sophomores. The guys have never given up all year and it finally worked out. A win this late in the year is a huge confidence booster going into districts.”

Debelak and Zawacki led BR-H with 15 points each, while Bray chipped in with 13.

Kanton Lauzon added 18 points for the Emeralds.

The Broncos, who won the jayvee game 62-37, host North Central Friday. Manistique hosts Munising Friday.