‘Cats victimized by inopportune mistakes in 72-68 loss

THREE RIVERS — Portage Central buried two critical shots late in the game and held on for a 72-68 win over host Three Rivers Tuesday.
The win improves Portage Central to 8-6 overall. Three Rivers drops to 6-8 overall. The Mustangs handed the Wildcats their sixth consecutive loss.
Motivated by the theme of the night that the game is like a production line, Three Rivers came out inspired even without its top scorer and rebounder in senior Tirrel Hausmanis, who was out of the lineup because of illness.
“I talked about having a production line and I thought we did that. At the wrong times though we would not take care of the ball or miss an easy shot that would allow Portage Central to score off that,” said Three Rivers coach Brian Burg.
Sophomore Parker Ellifritz and junior Jalen Heivilin helped pick up the slack in Hausmanis’ absence.
Ellifritz poured in 24 points, including six 3-pointers, to go with seven rebounds and one assist.
Ellifritz stole the headlines in the first half making 5-of-8 field-goal attempts for 19 points and Heivilin added seven.
The 5-foot-9 sophomore guard drained three of his four 3-pointers in the first half during the opening period to help Three Rivers earn a 20-19 lead.

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