Three Rivers self-destructs in loss to Paw Paw

Wildcats commit 25 turnovers

THREE RIVERS — Three Rivers faced a big task when it took the floor Tuesday against Paw Paw in a Wolverine Conference cross-divisional boys’ basketball matchup at the Purple Palace.
Brian Burg knew his Wildcats would need to handle the basketball with extreme care against the Redskins.
Three Rivers self-destructed committing 25 turnovers as Paw Paw converted on several of those and sped away to a 71-49 victory.
“It just wasn’t our night, but the biggest thing was we had 25 turnovers and they turned those into 60 percent shooting from the floor. When you turn the ball over that much to a good team like Paw Paw it will hurt you in the end,” Burg said.
Even though it didn’t play its best basketball, Three Rivers found itself down by just six points, 34-28, entering halftime.
Three Rivers built a quick 4-0 lead in the first quarter on Carson Charvat’s bucket inside and free throw and another free throw from his younger brother Gavin Charvat.
Paw Paw responded with a deuce from Trey Brennan to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Three Rivers went up 6-2 on a pair of free throws by junior center Tirrell Hausmanis.
Paw Paw went on a quick 8-0 run that gave the Redskins a 10-6 lead over the Cats.
The momentum was shortlived, however, as Three Rivers scored the next eight points. Carson Charvat scored twice underneath and Jalen Heivilin and Sam Hawkins converted layups to put the Cats back in front, 14-10.
Brennan responded with back-to-back layups himself to tie the contest at 14-14.
Eric Johnson’s three-pointer put Three Rivers up 17-14. But Paw Paw’s Jai Johnson knocked down a triple and added a layup just moments later to put the Redskins up, 19-17, entering the second quarter.
Paw Paw would build its lead to as many as seven, 24-17, in the first two minutes of the second quarter.
Three Rivers eventually pulled to within three points, 26-23, on Carson Charvat’s steal at mid-court and ensuing slam dunk. Paw Paw finished the half on an 8-8 run and took a six-point advantage into halftime.
“We talked at halftime about cutting our turnovers in half and finishing our shots around the rim,” Burg said.
Three Rivers committed 17 of its turnovers in the game during the first half.
Three Rivers started the third quarter with a defensive stop and a layup from Sam Hawkins to pull within four, 34-30.
That was as close as Three Rivers would ever come to Paw Paw in the entire second half.
“It seemed like we were fighting an uphill battle throughout the whole second half,” Burg said.
Paw Paw outscored Three Rivers 13-5 the remainder of the quarter to seize a commanding 47-39 cushion entering the fourth quarter.
Paw Paw went on to outscore Three Rivers 24-14 during the final eight minutes.
“I liked our guys’ attitude near the end of the game. The starters and other regulars were cheering on the other guys who were on the floor at the end. I think that shows that our team is together as one,” Burg said.
Rick Mitchell was pleased with the performance of his Redskins, now 12-3 overall and 4-2 in the Wolverine Conference North Division.
Brennan poured in a game-high 19 points for Paw Paw. Luke Toliver added 16 points for the Redskins, while Johnson and Nathan Smetana tossed in seven points each and Todd MacDonald finished with six.
“Our guys have played pretty good pressure defense all year. It’s a good group of kids and they play well together,” Mitchell said.
“I was a little disappointed though in how sloppy we looked at times with the basketball. We had quite a few turnovers. Our kids really get after it though. I’ll take a win like this on the road any day.”
The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Hausmanis continued his stellar play as of late by reaching double-digit scoring with 14 points with most of that total coming on free-throw attempts. He also had four rebounds for the Cats, now 9-4 overall and 4-0 for first place in the South Division.
Carson Charvat finished the night with 11 points. Heivilin chipped in 11 points to go with seven rebounds. Hawkins added six points and eight rebounds and Johnson and Gavin Charvat both added three points and four rebounds. Ashley Manansala added one point for the Cats.
Three Rivers finished the night shooting 16-of-46 (33 percent) from the floor and 15-of-25 from the foul stripe (60 percent).
Three Rivers outrebounded Paw Paw 33-27.
Despite the disappointing loss, Three Rivers’ head coach said his ballclub is still focused on its goal of winning the South Division and playing in the conference title game.
“No one was hanging their head after the game. We know we have to get ready for a tough divisional game at home Friday with Sturgis who will be hungry,” Burg said.

Three Rivers JV 69, Paw Paw 62
Three Rivers withstood a fourth-quarter rally by Paw Paw and earned a 69-62 win in the jayvee game.
The Wildcats took a 56-40 lead into the fourth quarter. Paw Paw outscored Three Rivers 22-13 to make a run that fell short.
Bryce Morlan had 20 points, one assist, 14 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive glass, and had four steals for the Cats. Nolan Mark added 17 points, three assists, 10 rebounds, one block and two steals. Brendan Brown had 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal. Traven Van Oss added 10 points, five assists, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
Morlan scored 25 points, had 15 rebounds and two steals in a 45-37 loss to Otsego last week. Minger added 12 points and four rebounds.

Three Rivers freshmen 60, Paw Paw 42
Three Rivers outscored Paw Paw 21-3 in the second quarter and cruised to a 60-42 win.
Ross O’Connor had 18 points, six rebounds, four blocks and six steals. Seite Kiser added 15 points and nine boards. Carter Minger produced 13 points, two assists, four rebounds and two steals. Devon Gidley had 12 points, three assists, five rebounds and nine steals.
Three Rivers lost to Otsego last Thursday 45-37. O’Connor had 14 points and five rebounds, while Minger chipped in 12 points and four rebounds.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or sports@threeriversnews.com.

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