Indians forced outside, lose 40-31 to Adrian
By MICKEY ALVARADO
Hopes were high that this would be the year Tecumseh’s varsity boys basketball team would win the Class B district title, for the first time since 1995, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The Indians’ archrival, the Adrian Maples, dashed Tecumseh’s dreams with a 40-31 victory.
“It wasn’t the end we wanted. It was our goal all year, probably similar to theirs.” said Tecumseh coach Marc Comstock. “We thought it was wide open and it was, but they were the better team tonight.”
Going into the game on neutral ground gave the Indians just as good a chance as the Maples with the teams splitting their two regular season contests. Adrian defeated Tecumseh (41-39) when hosting the Southeastern Conference game and the Indians did the same (45-39) when the Maples traveled to the Indians’ Jungle.
But in Dundee during the district final the Maples were the better team.
“I thought, “‘the first team that scores 40 points will win the game,’” said Adrian coach Bart Bartels after securing the title.
“I thought our defense was amazing,” he added.
The Indians were held to just one three point bucket in both the first and third quarters as Adrian controlled the inside court.
“Normally, we don’t play that much man-to-man, but we just went after them and took away that post-play inside early and I thought that really set the tone,” Bartels said.
Tecumseh’s Ben Kasper connected on both three-point baskets from the outside in the first and third quarters as the Maples held the Indians away from the paint.
“That’s what we had to do,” said Bartels. “If they’re going to win it’s going to be from the inside. [Ben] Kasper will compliment a little bit on the outside but they’ve got to score inside to win so you’ve got to take that away and that was our primary focus.”
Adrian took a 21-15 lead by the end of the first half and a carbon copy first and third quarter scoring effort had the Maples heading into the final quarter up 28-18.
“I thought we got a lot of good shots the second half. We didn’t shoot it well, inside or outside. And that’s been our bugaboo. We just struggled to score points,” said Comstock. “We just didn’t score many consecutive baskets. We could never make a run. And when we had the chance, we just never drilled the shot, whether it was inside or outside.”
The Indians lose seven seniors to graduation so next year will highlight a much younger squad.
“We’re going to take a big hit, not only just from an experience standpoint,” said Comstock. “But these guys have been with me since I came to Tecumseh. They’ve been with me for 41 or 42 games so we are going to take a hit... We’ll just have to figure it out again next year. We lost a good group of seniors.”
Tecumseh’s senior leaders were Kasper, Jacob Britt, Casey Hunt, Nick Coffin, Kyle Bryan, Eric Eldred and Ryan Watkins.
Kasper led the Indians’ offense with 10 points while Adrian’s (9-12) Brandon Bays led all scorers with 16 points.
Tecumseh defeated Airport 35-32 on Wednesday, March 6, at Dundee in the Class B District semifinal.
The Indians were down 10-6 at the end of the first quarter and the Jets increased their lead to 22-16 by the end of the first half.
Tecumseh (9-12 overall) allowed Airport just two more points in the third quarter while adding 11 to take a 27-24 lead. Bryan led the Indians in the second half, scoring four points in the third quarter and seven in the fourth. Both teams scored eight points in the fourth quarter to end the game.
Bryan scored 13 points and had seven rebounds to lead the Indians to the big victory.