Buckley Readies for Hillsdale Academy, State Semifinals
BUCKLEY – With its second quarterfinal win in as many years in hand, the Buckley boys basketball team is making a return trip to the Class D state semifinals and the Breslin Center.
The 2017 state runner-up, No. 8 Buckley (20-5) will take on No. 9 Hillsdale Academy (24-2) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Winners of the Southern Central Athletic Association East, the Colts only lost to fellow Class D foe Adrian Lenawee Christian and Class B neighbor Hillsdale this winter and are led by 6-7 senior center Peter Kalthoff, who averages nearly a double-double a night with 21.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Hillsdale Academy has never appeared in a state final and has reached this point after wins over Coldwater Pansophia (64-19), Hillsdale Will Carleton Academy (62-18), Camden-Frontier (58-42), Plymouth Christian (72-52), Lenawee Christian (56-49) and Marcellus Howardsville Christian (66-38).
“These kids are battle-tested,” Buckley coach Blair Moss said. “I told them, like against Muskegon Heights, I said, ‘It’s summer ball now, gentlemen. You have got to get physical, and you got to get after it.’”
After tying with Class C semifinalist Glen Lake and Frankfort for the Northwest Conference title, Buckley has hit its stride in the postseason, picking up dominant wins over Bear Lake (82-36), Brethren (74-30), Muskegon Heights Academy (70-48) and Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart (66-44).
Senior Austin Harris leads a trio of Bears averaging double figures, as Harris and Denver Cade average 17 points and 16.5 points per game, respectively. Joey Weber also averages 14.4 points per night.
“We try to be the aggressor, you know, bring the intensity to our side,” Austin Harris said. “Momentum is huge in the postseason. So, if you have the momentum, which we try to keep the whole time, we knew we’d come out with the win.”
The winner of Thursday’s matchup will face either No. 1 Southfield Christian (21-4) or No. 2 Dollar Bay (26-0) for the state title at 10 a.m. Saturday.