The Rams celebrate their district semi victory over Northview. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
CEDAR SPRINGS – Heading into the MHSAA Boys Basketball District 9 Semifinals, Wednesday March 11, hoops fans knew it was going to be an exciting game, and they weren’t disappointed. The teams – Rockford (8-13) and Northview (13-7) had met up one previous time, in the Legends Invitational, December 28, 2019 and Northview walked away with a 59-41 victory. The Rams had learned plenty since that December day, honing their skills on the court against tough opponents. The Wildcats also had an “ace,” sophomore Kyler Vanderjagt, who has averaged 19 points per game during the season.
Rockford head coach Kyle Clough gave Sam Krist the beginning assignment of quieting Vanderjagt and he did a superb job, keeping him off the scoreboard in the first quarter. The Rams offense did their job, too, claiming a 14-10 lead at the end of the opening stanza. Rockford continued their game plan in the second quarter, with Vanderjagt only able to tally two points. The Rams knotted the score with an Andrew Carlson bucket at the buzzer to knot the game at 22-22 at the half.
The third quarter had plenty of action, with Krist kicking it off with a basket from beyond the arc to give the Rams the 25-22 edge. The Wildcats answered by going on an 8-0 run to earn the 30-25 lead. The Rams never panicked, and Kaden Seelye put a stop to the run with 4 points to reel in Northview to close the quarter with the Rams behind 32-29.
The Wildcats started the fourth quarter with a bucket to move the score to 34-29, but they wouldn’t be able to muster any more points deep into the final stanza. Seelye drained two buckets to move the score to 34-33 and Krist gave the Rams the lead by hitting one from beyond the arc to give the Rams the 36-34 edge, with just 4:00 left in the game. Carlson moved the score to 37-34 with a free throw. That score seemed to wake up the Wildcats offense and they answered with a “3” to tie the game 37-37. A beautiful Seelye feed to Krist found him driving in for a layup to give the Rams the 39-37 lead. Northview tied the game yet again with two free throws, moving the score to 39-39 with 2:24 to go. A battle for another score found the game winding down to just .57 ticks left when Seelye reeled in a defensive rebound. An immediate Rockford timeout found both teams strategizing. When play resumed, Krist saw an opening in the lane and drove in for a layup scoring the go-ahead basket and giving the Rams the 41-39 lead. The crowd was in a frenzy with Northview heading to their own hoop, but the shooter missed, and the Rams had the ball back. A Northview foul found Seelye at the line and he drained one-of-two to move his stats at the charity stripe to 7-of-8 for the game to move the score to 42-39. The Wildcats threw in an inbound pass, and Carlson tipped it and Brendan Schueller reeled it in to deny Northview a chance to tie the game as time ran out.
Krist tallied 20 points for the Rams, and Seelye had 15 points. Carlson added 3, with Caden Currie and Jack Lamancusa chipping in 2 apiece.
The Rams will take on Forest Hills Northern, Friday, March 13, for the District title. The finals will take place at Cedar Springs High School with tip off scheduled for 7 p.m.
*Be sure to check the MHSAA site to make sure fans will be admitted to the event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, admittance may be limited.
Andrew Carlson battles for the ball. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Brendan Schueller controls play for the Rams. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Caden Currie works against a Northview defender. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Jack Lamancusa works for the score. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Kaden Seelye was fouled - all night long. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Sam Krist takes on two Wildcat defenders. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
The Mob was there in big numbers. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
The student section brought plenty of energy to the game. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Brendan Schueller skies for a basket from beyond the arc. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Always a FAMILY, whether in the game, or supporting from the sideline. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Sam Krist takes on a Wildcat for a hoop. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy
Head coach Kyle Clough celebrates at the end of the game with Sam Krist. ~ Photo by Memories by Mandy