Manton Falls to Covenant Christian in Class C Semis
EAST LANSING – An historic campaign for the Manton boys basketball team came to an end Thursday at the Breslin Center.
On the heels of claiming their first regional championship since 1998, the Rangers ran into a sound Grand Rapids Covenant Christian team in Thursday’s Class C state semifinal and were turned back with a 62-35 loss.
It was Manton’s first state semifinal appearance since its 1996 Class C state runner-up finish, while Covenant Christian was back in the semifinals for the first time since 1994.
“We’ve fought back from a few tough losses this season,” Manton coach Ryan Hiller said. “As the season went on, I think our defense got better and our rebounding got better. We won a lot of games because of our grit and toughness.”
The Rangers opened the contest in promising fashion, taking a 4-0 lead in the early going before the Chargers countered with an 11-3 run to end the opening quarter. From then on it was all Covenant Christian as the Chargers took a commanding 34-10 lead at the half and led 53-20 after three quarters.
“They got rolling,” Hiller said. “I think we had some decent shots, but they weren’t falling. That’s the game of basketball.”
Jayden Perry was the lone Ranger in double figures Thursday, netting 13 points. Hunter Ruell chipped in with eight points and four rebounds.
Trenton Koole poured in a game-high 14 points to lead Covenant Christian, which held a 43-32 edge in rebounds
With the loss, Manton concludes its year at 21-5. Runners-up in the Highland Conference, Manton posted impressive wins over Big North Conference foes Petoskey, Traverse City West and Gaylord as well as wins over Beaverton, Boyne City and Glen Lake. The Rangers also snapped a lengthy skid to rival and top-ranked McBain with a 54-48 win, claiming their first district championship since 1999 in the process.
Covenant Christian (21-5) will now take on two-time defending state champion Flint Beecher in Saturday’s state final. Beecher handed Detroit Edison PSA a 76-68 loss in Thursday’s earlier semifinal.