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Mt. Pleasant's Jaleel Hogan puts the ball back up after a rebound during a conference game with Saginaw Arthur Hill Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. Mt. Pleasant won the closely-contested game 69-60 hitting free throws down the stretch. (Photo by Skip Traynor)
Basketball - Boys
PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Mt. Pleasant puts itself on the map, tops Arthur Hill
Mt. Pleasant's T.J. Johnson gets ready to dish it off during his drive to the basket during a conference game with Saginaw Arthur Hill Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. Mt. Pleasant won the closely-contested game 69-60 hitting free throws down the stretch. (Photo by Skip Traynor)
Mt. Pleasant's Aaron Leasher pulls up for a shot during a conference game with Saginaw Arthur Hill Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013. Mt. Pleasant won the closely-contested game 69-60 hitting free throws down the stretch. (Photo by Skip Traynor)
Mt. Pleasant meet the map of Michigan.
On Tuesday night the Mt. Pleasant High School boys basketball team opened the home docket and officially put itself smack dab in the middle of the who’s who conversation as it topped state powerhouse Saginaw Arthur Hill 69-60.
The Oilers, who are now 2-0 overall and 2-0 in Saginaw Valley League play, outscored the Lumberjacks (1-1, 1-1) by a 25-18 count in the fourth quarter to net their most-significant victory in years.
Moreover, they also more than likely propelled themselves into the statewide conversation via the victory.
“Great, great win,” said Oiler coach Dan Schell following the festivities. “Like I told our kids, that’s a very good team we just beat and there’s no question about that. They’re a perennial power who wins year in and year out, so for us, it was a team that we needed to beat. For us it’s about the 12 guys and the coaches in that room, that’s all that matters.”
The Oilers, who topped Midland 59-56 last Friday, traded buckets with Arthur Hill throughout the first three quarters. After taking a slight lead in the first quarter, helped out by eight Arthur Hill first-quarter turnovers, the game went into the half tied at 25-25.
In the opening two stanzas Arthur Hill was the better team from the floor as it hit 9-of-22 shots while Mt. Pleasant went 6-for-20. Yet the Oilers also went 13-for-18 from the charity stripe in the opening half while the Lumberjacks went 4-for-8.
The third quarter was collectively a push as there were six lead changes and one tie. However the hosts would take the lead for good in the final minute of the third quarter off a simple in-bounds play. As it was no one bothered to cover Oiler senior Aaron Leasher along the baseline with 25 ticks left in the third and he promptly drained a 3-pointer to give Mt. Pleasant a 44-42 lead going into the fourth.
Arthur Hill then missed 15 of its first 16 shots in the fourth quarter as it went to the offensive glass with fervor but failed to make. This opportunity wasn’t lost on Mt. Pleasant either as back-to-back triples from Kalebb Perry, the first coming off the same play Leasher cashed in on earlier, pushed the lead to nine at 56-47 with 2:43 left in regulation.
“I didn’t shoot to well in the first half, but my coaches and teammates were telling me to keep my head in the game and keep letting it go,” said Perry. “I let the first one go and it fell and I let the second one go and it felt good too. It was a good spark for us, what we needed to win. It’s a very important win for us because we’ve been wanting to beat one of these big Saginaw schools. It’s a big confidence booster and everybody is going to know about Mt. Pleasant.”
The Oilers put it on ice by going 13-for-16 from the stripe in the final 1:53.
“Bottom line is we have continuity,” Schell added. “We have kids who have bought into a program and it’s about them. It’s about our kids coming in and giving us great minutes when we had to have them and that’s what we got tonight.”
Jaleel Hogan led the Oilers with 25 points while Anton Cotton added in 16 and Perry 11.
De’Quevion Johnson led Arthur Hill with 21 while Eric Davis had 18.
Last Updated: 12/17/2013 10:33:39 PM EST