By Mike Moore photo by Ryan Kerwin, JTV
Michigan Center — For the first time all season, somebody is about to lose.
The fact that that will actually happen is somewhat ridiculous at this stage of the game, but at this stage of the game, that’s the brutal truth of the boys basketball state playoffs.
On Monday night, the Michigan Center and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central boys basketball teams will meet in a Class C regional semifinal at Hudson High.
And with a combined record of 55-0, something has to give.
“They have a great tradition, an outstanding program and tradition,” said Center coach Travis Gaddy. “We have to find ways to rebound and limit their second-chance opportunities.”
First things first, Center enters the game 23-0 and fresh off a 68-53 victory over Hanover-Horton in last week’s district final, ending the Comets’ reign as 15-year champs.
“It was great,” Gaddy said of the district title. We weren’t so much focused on ending their streak but it had been 19 years since we’d enjoyed that around here.”
Gaddy said his team’s experience was a key in the win.
“I really think that was the difference,” he added. “We led by 19, then they went on an 11-0 run. In the past we would have panicked and lost. The way we played our game and defended was the difference.”
Now, all attention shifts to a SMCC team that’s 22-0, having defeated Erie-Mason 35-25 in last Friday’s final.
Tonight’s regional opener is set for 6 p.m. at Hudson.
“Tough to say,” Gaddy said when asked if SMCC is the best team his guys have faced this year. “They are very, very good. It’s tough to top the Dewitt team we played in December. This may be a little taller team. But it’s a good team, and we have to be ready.”
If the Cardinals want to keep rolling, especially on the offensive end, the top three scorers will have to remain as consistent as they have been all year.
Kylen Brown leads the way with 13.7 points per game, while Connor Pelham (11.8) and Austin McKenzie will have to do what’s worked.
Facing an undefeated team in a game of this magnitude, Gaddy said the mindset his guys approach the game with has to be on par with the way they play.
“Really an opportunity to play more carefree than we have recently,” he said. “They’ve been ranked No. 2 in the state all year long. We feel like the hunter now, not the hunted. We have to play loose. We have to go out and be ready to have some fun.”
The other side of the bracket features Ann Arbor Greenhills (15-7) and Adrian Madison (15-8).
The final is set for 7 p.m. at Hudson on Wednesday evening.
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports.
He’s also a Real Estate agent with Real Estate One, specializing with buyers and sellers throughout Michigan, from the Jackson area to metro Detroit. You can reach him at email@example.com or by calling (313) 770-6365 with any inquiries.