SCHOOLCRAFT — Schoolcraft’s boys’ basketball team has flown under the radar for much of this season.
Randy Small’s Eagles have finally attracted a little attention by gaining honorable mention status in this week’s Class C Associated Press state poll.
Schoolcraft is 15-1 with its only loss coming to unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep earlier this season 50-39.
Small’s ballclub has a chance to avenge that loss tonight when it hosts Hackett in a game that will decide the SAC Valley Divisional title.
Small is hoping to see his Eagles shoot the ball much better than they did last time when they faced the Irish on their home floor.
Schoolcraft shot one of its worst percentages from the floor in that contest going 15-of-59 (25.4 percent), including just 8-of-45 over the final three quarters.
“We have to put better pressure on them defensively than we did before and try to neutralize their offense,” Small said.
Outside of the game it lost to Hackett Catholic Prep, Schoolcraft has used its depth, experience and size to coast to a lot of easy victories against its opponents.
The Eagles did have a scare put into them last Friday in a 58-56 win over Kalamazoo Christian, but Small feels that it was good to be challenged like that this late in the season.
The Eagles are led in scoring by Caleb Eustice, a senior transfer from Portage Northern, who wasn’t eligible the first time the two teams met back in December.
Since joining the Eagles on game night, Eustice hasn’t disappointed anyone, averaging 15 points per game from his guard spot. He had a season-high 29 points in a close win over Vicksburg recently and 18 in last week’s tight win over Kalamazoo Christian.
“Caleb is probably our best offensive player. He helps the other guys on the court create shots and just gives us another added dimension,” Small said.
Senior Ricky Clark has been another big key averaging 14 points, along with five rebounds, 4.5 assists and three steals per contest.
Hackett Catholic Prep, which is coached by Mark Haase, is coming off an 85-56 win on Friday over Delton Kellogg.
The Irish were led in scoring in that contest by starting center Teddy Oosterbaan (6-6) with 20 points, while postplayer Heath Baldwin added 15 and Jacob Niesen and Aidan Gillig added 10 each.
“We have to force Oosterbaan and Baldwin out of the paint more this time. The thing about them though is they have a lot of shooters and they share the ball well,” Small said.
Schoolcraft also typically gets six to eight points per game out of Max Kulczyk and Jason Feddema and other role players.
Girls' season winds down this week
THREE RIVERS — Three Rivers and other area girls’ teams conclude the regular season this week.
Jason Bingaman’s Lady Cats visit Plainwell tonight at 7:15 p.m. for a Wolverine Conference non-divisional matchup with the Lady Trojans.
After tonight, Three Rivers will conclude the regular season at Allegan on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in its Wolverine Conference crossover game.
Three Rivers’ boys host Plainwell in a game that tips off at 7:15 p.m. Preceding that contest will be the two schools battling in the freshman game at 4:15 p.m. and the jayvee contest at 5:45 p.m.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.