Rudyard advances to MHSAA Division 4 boys basketball semifinals at Carney-Nadeau’s expense

Carney-Nadeau’s Michael Flanagan, left, looks to drive to the basket as Rudyard’s Tate Besteman looms on defense during an MHSAA Division 4 quarterfinal boys basketball game played at Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday. (Sault Evening News photo by Rob Roos)

SAULT STE. MARIE — Rudyard has been on a postseason roll, firing on all cylinders since the tournament tipped off.

The Bulldogs’ roll will continue into the state semifinals for the first time since 1963.

Rudyard cruised past Carney-Nadeau 76-48 in an MHSAA Division 4 boys basketball quarterfinal at Sault Ste. Marie High School on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs (18-2) advanced to play Wyoming Tri-unity Christian (13-2) in a game to be played Thursday in Grand Rapids.

On Tuesday, each of the starting five scored in double figures for the Rudyard, which was led by Austin Warner and EJ Suggitt with 16 points apiece.

“We knew Rudyard hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1963, so this is a special moment and we’re really excited about it,” the Bulldogs’ Tate Besteman said.

Carney-Nadeau (13-9) was led by senior Beau Koffman with 20 points.

C-N came into the quarterfinal with momentum of its own, and it was a close game Tuesday for much of the first half. The Wolves led 14-12 after a back-and-forth first quarter but trailed by eight at the half after a 16-6 second-quarter surge by the Bulldogs.

“We were down eight at the half, and we didn’t really want to be in that position,” C-N coach Paul Polfus said. “We were still in it, and we matched them for a couple baskets in the third quarter. But then we just went cold.

“We came through a district nobody expected us to win, and we won what was our second regional in school history. This team just kept playing hard and playing together.”

Rudyard exploited its size advantage early against the Wolves’ 1-3-1 zone, getting the ball in the post to 6-foot-5 forward Besteman. Besteman had an early dunk and put up all 12 of his points in the first half.

Koffman, the Skyline Central Conference Player of the Year, led the Wolves in the first half with nine points. The Wolves hit 5 of 16 triples in the half, helping them stay close.

Rudyard’s halftime lead of 28-20 ballooned to 48-28 during the third quarter.

For the Wolves, Jerry Lee LaFord finished with nine points, Michael Flanagan eight and Tim Hodson seven.


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