Three Rivers fends off Pennfield
THREE RIVERS — Brian Burg’s opening comments in the postgame interview after Tuesday’s 78-74 non-conference win at home over Battle Creek Pennfield had nothing to do with what happened on the court.
“Tonight I saw something that was really incredible. It was Senior Night and I was going to start Eric Johnson, Sam Hawkins and Carson Charvat as seniors but those three guys came together and wanted Michael Coffey, Austin Wright and Zavier Barth to start in their place,” Burg said.
“That gesture truly shows how much these guys love each other and care about one another. The five habits of Three Rivers Wildcat Basketball showed tonight.”
Burg was pleased with the contribution of all 13 players on his roster.
A total of 10 players shared in Three Rivers’ scoring and the Cats needed every one of them to outlast a scrappy Pennfield ballclub which falls to 12-7 with the loss.
“This was a great win tonight. The guys were excited to play this game tonight. I can’t say enough of how proud I am of each of these guys. I truly love them all,” Burg added.
Burg was pleased with the energy level the players he did start came out with and it carried once he rotated everyone else in and out of the contest.
Junior center Tirrell Hausmanis led Three Rivers with 19 points and five rebounds. Senior forward Carson Charvat was next for the Cats with 16 points and four rebounds.
“Tirrell finished well inside tonight,” Burg said.
Senior Eric Johnson had another impressive game off the bench for Three Rivers by attaining a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Jalen Heivilin added 11 points, including a trio of three-pointers, and six assists, while Gavin Charvat had six points, Ashley Manansala four, Sam Hawkins three, and Max Chapman, Barth and Wright added two each.
Hawkins also had two assists.
Three Rivers enjoyed one of its best shooting nights of the season knocking down 31-of-59 (53 percent) from the floor, including 7-of-14 from three-point territory (50 percent), and 9-of-21 (43 percent) from the free-throw line.
“We work on free throws in practice, but it’s a mental thing. You have to go to the line and get yourself set, relax and eye on the rim and put it in the net. We’re shooting 58 percent from the line for the season,” Burg said.
Three Rivers won the rebounding battle by the slimmest of margins, 34-33.
Pennfield had 15 turnovers to Three Rivers’ 14 miscues.
Ronald Jamierson led Pennfield with a game-high 28 points. Francois Jamierson added 14, Deveaire Todd 12 and Grant Peterson had 11 for the Panthers, who were 29-of-67 (43 percent), including 10-of-29 from three-point land (34 percent), and 6-of-11 (55 percent) at the foul stripe.
“We expected a tough ballgame coming down here. We were coming off four straight wins. Three Rivers played extremely well in the second quarter. That stretch was a killer. They were bigger and got a lot of second-chance opportunities and were good shooters out on the perimeter,” said Pennfield coach Steve Grimes.
Three Rivers trailed Pennfield 16-12 after the opening period.
The Wildcats came out with a stifling second-quarter defense and held the Panthers to eight points. A 29-8 run put Three Rivers up by what seemed like a comfortable 41-24 lead entering halftime.
Heivilin hit a three pointer and Charvat added a pair of triples, Johnson scored six points off the bench and Hausmanis added eight to key that spurt.
Pennfield knocked down three triples during the third quarter and pulled to within 13, 60-47 entering the final eight minutes.
Ronald Jamierson’s three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter brought the Panthers back within 10, 69-59.
Three Rivers kept Pennfield at bay down the stretch by converting some key buckets and free throws.
Ronald Jamierson’s three-pointer in the final minute brought the Panthers within three, 77-74.
Wright, however, made two key free throws in the waning seconds to seal up the win.
Please see Wednesday's Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.