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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Truman tops Inter-City in battle of Downriver's best (TOUT VIDEO)

When two state-ranked teams get together, fans can usually expect to see a good game.

On Saturday night, those in the Truman bleachers certainly got more than their money’s worth.

In an exciting, back-and-forth battle, the powerful Cougars (10-0, 7-0 Downriver League) came out on top 67-58 against the sharp-shooting Inter-City Baptist Chargers (6-2, 3-1 Michigan Independent-Blue) of Allen Park.

Truman came into the game ranked No. 6 in Division 1 by the Michigan Associated Press, while the Chargers were ranked No. 3 in Division 4. Currently, no other boys' basketball teams from the Downriver area are ranked.

“(It) certainly was a very tough game and we are very happy about coming away with a win,” said Truman Coach Chuck Suttles. “That’s a very nice, well-coached team. Without a doubt that was the toughest game we’ve had.”

Inter-City wasted no time getting to work, as the visitors nailed a total of four first-quarter 3-pointers. Garrett Kraatz hit two of the treys, while Luke Barber and Evan Kraatz knocked down one each.

However, Truman’s Aaron Foster-Smith came up with 11 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter, and after the first eight minutes the hosts were down only 18-17. Foster-Smith’s first three points of the night brought him to the 1000-point mark for his career, for which he was honored Saturday night with a certificate.

Evan Kraatz, who averages 17 points a game for Inter-City, was held to only nine for the night, thanks to double teams from the Cougars’ defenders.

Chargers Coach Mark Kraatz said the Truman defense came out strong, but his other players quickly made up for the fact the Cougars were doubling Evan Kraatz.

“I thought they played tough,” Mark Kraatz said. “They were determined to put two on Evan the whole game and our other guys just stepped up big for us. We took what they gave us.”

Barber scored a team-high 17 for Inter-City, while Garrett Kraatz had 13 and Troy Kazlauskas finished with 12.

The purple and gold shooters grabbed a five-point lead early in the second quarter, but the Cougars continued to hit back and tied it up multiple times during the quarter.

Around the final minute of the half, Barber nailed his second three of the night and put his squad up 30-27.

Devonte McGregor quickly scored two points for Truman to cut the deficit to one, but Kazlauskas hit a late shot and the Chargers took a 32-29 lead into the break.

The Cougars grabbed a three-point lead early in the third quarter after Anthony Wartley-Fritz hit a bucket and Foster-Smith drilled a three, but then a shot from Kazlauskas cut Truman’s advantage to a point.

Helping to keep things even was that Barber and McGregor both got hot in the third quarter for their respective teams. Barber scored nine for Inter-City and McGregor netted seven for the Cougars, who finished the quarter leading 52-49. For the night, McGregor was second on the Truman squad in points with a total of 16.

After nearly two scoreless minutes to start the fourth quarter, Inter-City got on the board first with a shot from Zach Riddle and trailed only 52-51.

Nearly one minute later Garrett Kraatz netted his third 3-pointer of the night and the visitors went up 54-52.

Around the three-minute mark of the final quarter, Foster-Smith scored five quick points, including a long 3-pointer, and put his team back on top.

Inside the final two minutes, Riddle hit Kazlauskas with a pass under the basket and he easily put up it for two, which made it 59-58 in favor of the Cougars.

Once again, however, Foster-Smith answered and broke free on the other end for a play that ended in a one-handed dunk and he put his squad back up by three.

Inside the final minute, a costly foul committed on a shot by Truman’s Devain Newbill helped to seal the Chargers’ fate, as the squad was then forced to foul after that, but was unsuccessful in scoring again and the Cougars went on to the 67-58 victory.

“It feels great,” said Foster-Smith afterward. “This is one of the best teams we’ve played yet. The intensity was there for us.”

Next week, Truman is scheduled to visit Lincoln Park on Tuesday and Inter-City is set to welcome in Oakland Christian the same night.





Last Updated: 1/26/2014 12:59:58 PM EST

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