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End of the dream: Marquette Senior High School boys basketball team’s deficit grows into 85-58 loss to Grand Blanc at Division 1 regional final

Marquette’s Kam Karp, right, drives the ball past a Grand Blanc defender during their MHSAA Division 1 regional championship game played Thursday evening at Dow High School in Midland. (Austin Chastain photo)

MIDLAND — It started as a small deficit, then it became a landslide.

Marquette Senior High School’s boys basketball team lost to Grand Blanc 85-58 in an MHSAA Division 1 regional championship game at Midland Dow High School on Thursday evening.

MSHS coach Brad Nelson said the defensive philosophy his team normally deploys needed to be executed well to keep the high-flying Bobcats at bay.

“I told them if we were able to keep them in the 40s and 50s (point range), I thought we had a chance,” Nelson said. “We didn’t…. With a team like (Grand Blanc), there was probably a four-possession stretch where it was equivalent to a 16-point swing that kind of blew the gates off.”

The Redmen (13-4) led for a mere few seconds at the start of the game, but the Bobcats (12-2) opened the floodgates and dominated both ends of the floor using tough-nosed defense to spark a 7-0 run and build a lead in the opening quarter. GB led after eight minutes, 25-13.

MSHS battled to keep the game under double digits in the opening moments of the second quarter, but the attack of Ty Rodgers and RJ Taylor led the Bobcats to a 44-27 lead at halftime.

“We were in it for about 12 minutes,” Nelson said. “Then they blew the doors off.”

GB opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run in the first handful of minutes and continued to show off its offensive firepower in the third quarter to expand its lead to as much as 31. The Bobcats used that firepower and momentum to carry a 63-38 lead into the final quarter.

In the fourth, GB continued to push its offense but the Redmen found an offensive stroke, hitting one 3-pointer after another in the game’s final three minutes.

MSHS scored 20 points in the fourth, but with the Bobcats’ 22 and a fast-break dunk from Taylor, the Bobcats’ speed was an integral part of Thursday’s game and ultimately was the difference maker, according to the coach.

“You have to face teams with their speed, their athleticism on a consistent basis to kind of know the ins and outs of a team like that,” Nelson said. “Obviously, we don’t see a team like that very often.”

“They’re a hell of a team,” Marquette senior guard Kam Karp said. “We knew it was going to be a David vs. Goliath story, all we could do was come out and give it our best.

“Whatever the score was at the end, we just wanted to say that we did everything we could. Going into tonight, we just said, ‘Nothing left on the floor.'”

Karp was one of just three Redmen to score on Thursday. Fellow seniors Lincoln Sager and Ty Lotterman also hit the scorebook for MSHS. Sager finished with a game-high 23 points while Karp scored 19 and Lotterman 16.

Rodgers had 17 to lead the Bobcats.

MSHS had a string of possessions in the first half that ended in either one shot or a turnover. While the second half was crisper, the Redmen had a long way to climb against the Bobcats, who play Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in the state quarterfinal Tuesday at Davison High School near Flint.

Nelson said valuing possessions is one of the main teaching points for his team going into next season. It means taking care of the basketball and not letting mental errors swell to double-digit runs.

“We come down one-and-done (on offense) and they’re on the other end of the court before you know it,” Nelson said. “(Grand Blanc) was able to wipe the boards in the first half; I thought we did a better job in the second half. You know going into playing a team like this that paying attention to detail (is crucial).

“For what my guys accomplished this year, I couldn’t be happier.”

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