Ski Valley All Conference Second Team
Ski Valley All Conference Honorable Mention
J-L BOYS BASKETBALL 2014-15 SCHEDULE
JOHANNESBURG — Mancelona won its first boys basketball district championship since 1977 on Friday, and it took a career night from Brandon Dingman to end that drought.
Dingman scored 40 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help the Ironmen beat Johannesburg-Lewiston 66-61 in the Class C district championship on the road.
What's more, the senior scored his 2,000th career point after he knocked down a heavily contested 3-pointer right before the final buzzer of the first quarter.
"Dingman is a heck of a player," J-L coach Troy Huff said.
The Cardinals led Mancelona 56-55 with 3:05 left following a 7-0 run that included lay ups in transition from Logan Huff and Chad Garton, as well as a 3-pointer from Garton.
But a bucket from Mancelona's Griffin Borst, a Dingman lay up and the Ironmen's foul shooting down the stretch clinched the win. Mancelona shot 7-for-8 from the foul line in the last 1:10 which included Dingman making all six of his attempts.
The loss ended J-L's season while Mancelona (17-6) advanced to the Class C regional semifinal against McBain (20-2) on Monday at Manton.
"We knew it was going to be a war tonight, and I'm proud of all my kids," said Coach Huff, whose Cardinals ended their 2014-15 campaign 16-7 overall. "They worked their butts off."
With the way the game started, it looked as if the Cardinals were going to be the ones posing for photos with the championship trophy Friday night.
J-L made its first six shots and led 13-5 five minutes into play. Nathan Fox scored three baskets during that stretch, including two assisted by Logan Huff who found Fox open underneath.
Mancelona wouldn't lay down, however, and ended the period on a 19-4 run that saw Dingman bury two 3-pointer and Tyler Fults make two uncontested shots.
"No lead is big enough against the powerhouse teams of the Ski Valley like Mancelona," Coach Huff said.
The Ironmen led 24-17 after the first quarter, but J-L fought back and tied the score 24-24 in the second once Fox made a lay up off a steal and added two points from free throws.
The two squads played back and forth until Logan Huff's lay up gave J-L its first lead, a 32-31 advantage, since the game's opening action. Dingman added a pair of scores and the Ironmen entered halftime leading 35-34.
The Cardinals again started strong, as they open the second half on a 6-0 run with Brandon Huff scoring twice on shots underneath. But Mancelona responded quickly with Borst and Dingman sinking back-to-back 3-pointers.
"Griffin Borst deserves an attaboy, too," Coach Huff said. "He plays under the shadow of Brandon Dingman. He is tough and a great player."
J-L then struggled to collect both offensive and defensive rebounds, and the Ironmen capitalized with an 18-4 run to carry a 53-46 lead into the final period.
"The biggest thing (we should have done better) was with second-chance shots," Coach Huff said. "They got a lot of rebounds and second-chance shots. If we limit those and cut those in half, we win the game."
Leading the Ironmen was Dingman who shot 13-of-28 from the field, 8-for-8 from the foul line and made six 3-pointers. His career night moved him passed Magic Johnson as the 32nd all-time leading scorer in MHSAA history.
Borst finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists, despite missing most of the first half with three fouls. Fults tallied 10 points.
Fox led J-L with 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds while Logan Huff had 16 points and six assists. Brandon Huff and Chad Garton each scored 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and had three assists.
The Cardinals graduate two seniors, including Garton who was an integral part of J-L's success in 2014-15.
"He's tough and a heck of a worker," Coach Huff said. "I can't say enough about Chad. He was our highest percentage 3-point shooter, and he just does a lot of things that helps us."
J-L also graduates Gary Murphy.
"Gary gives us good minutes off the bench," Coach Huff said. "I can't say enough about that young man as a senior who came out for basketball for the first time this year. It's tough to come out for just one year, but he was a great role player and practice player."
The Cardinals will return four starters next season as well as two others, Brent Carpenter and Orin Kierczynski, who split time on the bench and in the starting rotation.
Statement win against Glads catapults Cards into district championship
JOHANNESBURG — The misconception that the Ski Valley Conference is an inferior boys basketball league was put to rest Wednesday.
By the time Johannesburg-Lewiston trampled Traverse City St. Francis 81-62 in the Class C district semifinal at home, other Ski Valley teams had caused havoc all across Northern Michigan.
Inland Lakes narrowly lost to Lake Michigan Conference-goliath East Jordan while Mancelona upset another LMC giant in Elk Rapids. Across the county, it took everything Bellaire had to fend off one-win St. Mary.
After a lackluster regular season, it appears the number of losses across the league can be chalked up to parity and not inferior play. So far this postseason, that parity has helped teams like J-L find early success against bigger opponents.
Now the Cardinals (16-6) will face league foe Mancelona in the district championship Friday in Johannesburg — and not one of the tougher LMC schools most fans expected to easily win the district.
"Everyone has kind of made the comments throughout the year that the Ski Valley isn't tough," J-L coach Troy Huff said. "Well we have two Ski Valley teams that have knocked off or come close to beating two teams in Elk Rapids and East Jordan that have been rated in the top 10 (Associated Press poll) this year.
"We were so competitive (as a conference in the regular season) that I was hoping it would make us all better come tournament time. Here we are and we're all better at tournament time, and it couldn't have worked out more perfect."
Shortly after the opening tip Wednesday, the Cardinals grabbed momentum and all but captured the win in the first half.
In the first quarter, they took advantage of penetration to the basket to force St. Francis into foul trouble and to craft an early 10-2 run that gave them a comfortable lead.
Chad Garton drove to the basket and dumped the ball to Brandon Huff twice for open baskets while Logan Huff, Brent Carpenter and Nathan Fox each scored off similar dump passes as well.
Garton finished with eight points in the period, and Logan Huff poured in a 3-pointer to help J-L enter the second quarter leading 25-14.
St. Francis (5-16) quickly scored six points at the start of the second, but it's full-court trap couldn't contain J-L from scoring. The Cardinals finished the period on a 21-3 run which included 3-pointers from both Garton and Orin Kierczynski.
"We were able to run in transition in the first half," Coach Huff said. "I've said it all year, you can try trapping us with a full-court press but that plays into our game. We're too athletic and have too good ball handlers to turn the ball over."
The Gladiators forced nine J-L turnovers in the third quarter and limited the Cardinals to 10 points. But the best St. Francis could trim its deficit to was 12 points. J-L led 58-42 after three periods.
"It's almost like we relaxed and let them come back in the second half," Coach Huff said.
J-L committed another seven turnovers in the fourth quarter but led by as many as 18 points twice in the final 5:30.
However, St. Francis started playing more aggressive on defense under 4:00 to play. J-L capitalized by passing over St. Francis' half-court traps and converting on high-percentage opportunities near the rim.
"We weren't playing smart," Coach Huff said. "We were fouling at the opposite end of the floor where we shouldn't have been fouling. We were walking up the court and letting them shoot free throws and stopping the clock. You can't do that against good teams."
Garton scored 25 points to lead a J-L team that tallied a season-best 81 points. Brandon Huff finished with 22 points while Logan Huff had 18.
Fox helped with eight points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Garton and Logan Huff each had six assists, and Brandon Huff grabbed nine rebounds.
Gabe Callery led St. Francis with 18 points, five assists and five steals while Guz Danz grabbed nine rebounds and chipped in six points.
Brandon Huff, Chad Garton push Cardinals past Glen Lake in pre-district nail-biter
JOHANNESBURG — Johannesburg-Lewiston is still alive in the postseason after Brandon Huff's clutch performance Monday.
Huff scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning shot, and helped the boys basketball team defeat Glen Lake 55-52 in the Class C pre-district at home.
Glen Lake led J-L 52-50 until Huff scored off a two-foot shot with 45 seconds left. On Glen Lake's next possession, he forced a jump ball call that gave the Cardinals one last chance to win.
The Cardinals ate time off the clock and then Logan Huff drove through the heart of Glen Lake's defense. He pulled up in the paint and found an open Brandon Huff with a pass underneath.
Brandon Huff banked in the shot, drew a foul and then sank the and-1 attempt with four seconds remaining.
"Brandon is pretty tough when he is strong underneath," J-L coach Troy Huff said. "He had some great effort in the second half."
The Cardinals (15-6) advanced to the district semifinal Wednesday and will host Traverse City St. Francis (5-15).
Brandon Huff can attribute his late success to teammate Chad Garton.
Glen Lake neutralized Huff with its height in the first half. The Lakers stymied J-L's inside shooters and allowed no clean shots in the paint. Huff missed all four of his early attempts and entered halftime with one point.
Luckily for the Cardinals, Garton benefited from Glen Lake's defensive alignment and scored 16 points in the last nine minutes of the half.
He scored back-to-back lay ups and one foul shot to end the first quarter. In the next eight minutes, he added another basket and three consecutive 3-pointers that gave the Cardinals a 29-24 halftime lead.
"We knew after halftime that they'd be looking to double Chad and guard him tight in the second half," Coach Huff said. "We talked about what would work and that was a dribble-drive and dish."
Glen Lake limited Garton to two shots and one basket in the second half, but its defense allowed players such as Brandon Huff and Nathan Fox to score underneath.
Most of those close-range opportunities were created by the play of Logan Huff and Orin Kierczynski.
"Orin had some key screens for Logan to help him drive to the hole," Coach Huff said. "That allowed Logan to go to work where he could drop the ball off to Brandon or Nate."
Garton led with 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Brandon Huff finished with 14 points and seven rebounds while Logan Huff contributed 13 points and six assists.
Fox had eight points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Glen Lake's 3-point shooting and rebounding kept it in the game.
The Lakers scored three 3s in the first quarter to escape the period with an 11-9 lead. A trio of 3s from Mac Ewing in the second half kept the game close until the final horn. Ewing finished with 12 points and shot 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Glen Lake's 6-foot-7 center, Jared Ritter, scored 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. He was successful scoring from inside eight feet.
Travis Moore, another skilled post player, had eight points and eight rebounds.
"That Ritter kid was a serious threat," Coach Huff said. "I thought the boys did a good job dropping down on him on defense. We made sure to have a body on him every time. He was a tall kid, but we pushed him to the baseline and boxed him out for rebounds."
Brandon Huff and Fox often doubled Ritter, but Brent Carpenter — J-L's own 6-foot-5 post player — came off the bench and defended Ritter well, too.
"We got great minutes from Brent Carpenter," Coach Huff said. "He didn't have any points, but he had two blocked shots that were key on Ritter. I thought he was a serious factor tonight."
The winner of Wednesday's semifinal will face either Elk Rapids or Mancelona in the district championship Friday in Johannesburg.
Chad Garton's hot shooting late pushes Cards past Eagles in season finale
Johannesburg-Lewiston extended its small lead by taking advantage of better scoring opportunities in the second half Thursday at Fairview.
Chad Garton, who finished with 27 points, nailed a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter and another in the fourth, and the Cardinals went on to beat the Eagles 64-53 in a non conference game.
"We worked the ball around and got good looks in the second half," J-L coach Troy Huff said. "Chad hit a couple of 3s in the third and fourth. Us making free throws was big for us, too."
The two teams played back and forth in the first half, and Fairview's shooting kept the game close early on. J-L lead Fairview 15-13 after the first quarter and 29-26 at halftime.
"It was a tough game because Fairview's shooters were pretty on," Huff said.
Garton finished with six rebounds, two steals and two assists. He shot 8-for-9 from the foul line.
Also for the Cardinals (14-6), Logan Huff scored 15 points and had five steals, Brandon Huff recorded a double-double (14 pounds and 11 rebounds) and Nathan Fox grabbed 10 rebounds, scored eight points and had seven assists.
Orin Kierczynski helped with two steals while Brendan Prentice, Brent Carpenter and Gary Murphy each contributed off the bench.
"Prentice played well when he went in tonight," Coach Huff said. "Brent Carpenter played really well and Gary did, too. They all gave us good minutes."
The win concluded the regular season for J-L. It hosts Glen Lake in the Class C pre-district Monday. The Cardinals will spend the next few days in practice gearing up for the postseason.
"We're going to start preparing for Glen Lake," Coach Huff said. "They have a big kid there in Jared Ritter and a physical guard who plays well.
"They look to pound it into the post which plays to our advantage because defending the post is one of our strengths."
Cardinals lose close call to Mio at home
JOHANNESBURG — Johannesburg-Lewiston trailed by three points with 30 seconds left, but Mio made its foul shots down the stretch to preserve the win Tuesday.
Mio, which shot outstanding from beyond the 3-point arc, defeated the Cardinals 61-54 in a non conference boys basketball game.
Brandon Huff led J-L with 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Nathan Fox added 11 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Also for the Cardinals (13-6), Brent Carpenter scored nine points, Logan Huff chipped in eight and Chad Garton had six.
J-L visits Fairview for the regular season finale Thursday. It then hosts Glen Lake for a Class C pre-district game Monday.
Troy Huff's adjustment to Johannesburg-Lewiston's lineup in the second quarter helped his team separate from Onaway in boys basketball action Friday.
J-L struggled with turnovers in the first half and couldn't find a consistent answer for stopping Pat Dunn, Onaway's 6-foot-5 center. But after Huff checked in its 6-5 player, junior Brent Carpenter, into the game, J-L was able to pull away from Onaway in the second half and capture a 68-44 win on the road.
"Brent did a heck of a job on the Dunn kid," Huff said. "He held him to six points in the second half, and Brent shut him down. I told Brent that he was my MVP of the game.
"He only scored two points, but he was big on defense and rebounding. He played as well as he's ever played for us. That kid is going to get serious minutes for us next year."
Huff put his best defender, junior Nathan Fox, on Dunn in the first quarter. As the game played on, Huff felt Fox would help J-L more if he could guard Onaway's steady-shooting guards.
Enter Carpenter. He limited Dunn to nine points in the first half and finished with 10 rebounds and four blocks. His defensive effort, including grabbing defensive rebounds, helped J-L create scoring opportunities in transition and improve its offense in the half court.
J-L outscored Onaway 19-7 in the third quarter and 20-10 in the fourth.
"We ran the ball in transition well when we needed to," Huff said. "They doubled down and tried to trap our guys when we got a defensive rebound. We were able to run 3-on-3 and scored off that."
Logan Huff led J-L with 23 points and 11 assists. He shot 8-for-8 from the foul line and chipped in five steals.
Brandon Huff scored 22 points, and Chad Garton had 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Fox finished with six points, six rebounds and four assists.
Onaway's Dunn scored 15 points.
J-L (14-5, 14-4 Ski Valley) plays again Tuesday when it hosts Mio for a non conference game.
Hot-shooting, bench play help Cards sting Hornets
PELLSTON — All eight Cardinals scored in a boys basketball game for the first time this season Wednesday.
Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Brandon Huff and Logan Huff each scored 21 points and the Cardinals rolled past Pellston 82-44 on the road. Gary Murphy led J-L’s bench players by scoring eight points which included sinking a 3-pointer. Brent Carpenter added six points and four rebounds and Brendan Prentice had three points.
“It’s nice to see those (bench) guys score,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “They put in a lot of effort during the week and are great practice players. They make us work hard, and it’s nice to get them playing time.
“They’re coming along and are really contributing.”
The Cardinals, 13-5 overall and 13-4 in the Ski Valley, outscored Pellston 32-9 in the first quarter. It was the most points they’ve scored in a single period all season.
J-L led 52-18 at halftime.
J-L’s Chad Garton finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Nathan Fox helped with six points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Orin Kierczynski scored six points, Brandon Huff grabbed four rebounds and Logan Huff had four assists and two rebounds.
“We got some good looks and found passing lanes,” Coach Huff said. “Our bigs found an opening, and our guards fed Brandon in the paint well. He had a lot of points in the paint with great guard play by Nate and Logan.”
The Cardinals visit Onaway for a Ski Valley game Friday.
Cards size up Wildcats in preparation for districts
JOHANNESBURG — Johannesburg-Lewiston’s defense will have added confidence entering the postseason.
The Cardinals host Glen Lake for the Class C pre-district Monday, March 9.
The Lakers have several talented players but none stand out quite like 6-foot-10 center Jared Ritter. The junior covers the paint like a tree on defense and is money scoring from the post in the half court.
Against Northport on Monday, J-L caught a glimpse of what defending Ritter will be like in the district tournament. It trounced the Wildcats 76-31 at home and did so by stopping Jacob Brown, Northport’s 6-foot-9 center.
J-L’s Nathan Fox defended Brown well in the paint. Fox received weak-side help from teammate Brandon Huff, and the two held Brown to two points and no rebounds in the first half.
On offense, the Cardinals (12-5) drove through the lane and often attacked Brown in the post. Brown picked up two fouls three minutes into play and carried four fouls into the locker room at halftime.
If J-L can replicate that same defensive effort, it could find itself advancing past the Ritter-led Lakers in districts.
“It was nice to see this big kid tonight because we’ll have to see that Glen Lake kid in districts,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “We had great help- and weak-side defense against (Brown).”
Coach Huff said it took extra effort from Fox and Brandon Huff to contain Brown when the big man received the ball in the post.
“It was a lot to ask, but we made sure we fronted him and made sure we were talking through it the whole time,” Coach Huff said. “We heard Nate say tonight ‘I’m fronting him, I’m fronting him, I’m fronting him.’
“Communication is huge, and our players didn’t have to turn their heads to see what’s going on (with Brown). They knew when a fellow teammate talked, they needed to listen.”
Brown finished with nine points and three rebounds before he fouled out in the second half. He also threw down a thunderous dunk in the third quarter.
But before Brown left the game, J-L had its big man, Brent Carpenter, a 6-foot-5 junior, guard him in relief of Fox.
Carpenter was called for three fouls defending Brown, but he fought for three rebounds and had success on offense as well. He ended the game shooting 4-of-6 from the floor for nine points.
Coach Huff believed Monday was a step in the right direction for Carpenter, as the junior continues to mature into being another standout player for J-L.
“Brent has given us some quality minutes and had a great matchup tonight,” Coach Huff said. “He’s still figuring things out, but he’s progressing to where I thought he would be.”
Brandon Huff led J-L with 20 points and eight rebounds. He scored eight of his points in the first quarter, when teammates Fox, Logan Huff and Chad Garton each hit him with passes down low.
Garton added 18 points and seven rebounds while Logan Huff scored 16 points and had five assists.
Fox continued playing well in each phase of the game. He finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
“We just need to continue being patient on offense,” Coach Huff said. “I thought we got away from our patience on offense last week, but we were patient enough to get good looks tonight.”
Marcus Stowe led Northport (10-6) with 17 points. He shot 5-of-11 from beyond the 3-point line and finished with four assists. Brett Dyer helped with four points, four rebounds and four assists.
• The Cardinals outscored Northport 28-10 in the opening quarter, but their best effort came in the second.
They limited the Wildcats to three points and no made field goals. Northport shot 0-for-5 and all three of its points were from the foul line.
Some of J-L’s success on defense related to Brown’s foul trouble. But J-L did force six turnovers and managed to score several times in transition.
The Cardinals visit Pellston on Wednesday before traveling to Onaway on Friday.
Johannesburg-Lewiston defeated Northport 55-26 in a non conference game Monday.
J-L’s Mike Courterier scored 16 points, and McGwire Mathewson contributed 15.
Navneet Dhami led Northport with 18 points.
JOHANNESBURG — Johannesburg-Lewiston came within two minutes of earning a share of the Ski Valley Conference championship Friday.
Bellaire instead forced five turnovers and scored seven points to earn a late comeback win. It defeated the Cardinals 36-34 on the road.
The Cardinals, 11-5 overall and 11-4 in conference, led by one point when Bellaire’s Hayden Niepoth drove to the hoop for a tough lay up. His score gave Bellaire a 33-32 lead with 1:05 left.
On the next possession, Niepoth swiped the ball at mid court and made an uncontested lay up. Seconds later, Niepoth tipped a pass that landed in Gabe Meriwether’s hands to end another J-L scoring opportunity.
“You can’t have five turnovers in the last two minutes of the game because it kills you,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “I’ve talked to them night and day that turnovers wins and loses you games. The same goes for your defense.”
The Eagles (13-2, 13-2) led 35-32 until J-L’s Chad Garton scored off a rebound with six seconds left.
Bellaire’s Charlie Rainey made one free throw in the bonus, extending his team’s lead to 36-34 with 5.3 seconds remaining.
The Cardinals had one opportunity to tie for overtime, but Meriwether picked off J-L’s final inbounds pass and then dribbled around the court until time expired.
The win gave Bellaire the conference title outright.
“It’s a crushing loss because we had them right where we wanted them,” Huff said.
J-L’s Brandon Huff scored 12 points, including eight in the first half, and shot 6-of-9 from the floor.
Garton finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Nathan Fox grabbed eight boards.
Bellaire limited J-L’s Logan Huff to four points on 1-of-9 shooting.
“I don’t think we were patient enough on offense, and I thought we hurried it with some excitement,” Coach Huff said. “That came from Bellaire pressuring the ball a little bit.”
Bellaire generated sound ball pressure after it switched to a 3-2 defensive zone in the second half.
“We weren’t hitting the weak side,” Huff said. “It was open all night long, and we weren’t swinging it.
“It should have been an easy look against the 3-2 zone, especially when Bellaire was looking to trap up top.”
Meriwether led Bellaire with 14 points and four steals. Eight of his points came in the third quarter — when Bellaire outscored J-L 10-4.
He knocked down three consecutive shots from the right elbow to trim J-L’s lead to two points. He then tied the game at 21-21 with a lay up midway through the quarter.
A Brandon Huff basket and a lay up from Bellaire’s Jamal Lockhart tied the game 23-23 entering the fourth.
Bellaire’s Douglas Verellen finished with seven points, and Niepoth added six points, five rebounds and seven assists.
Lockhart and Rainey each scored four points.
• Brent Carpenter played his best game all season, especially in the second quarter.
After a Brandon Huff miss, Carpenter scored on a put-back attempt and then marched down court and blocked a Bellaire shot on the next possession.
The Cardinals turned around and fed Carpenter down low. After he briefly pivoted with the ball, he fed it to Logan Huff for a weak-side lay up.
The junior finished with two points, three rebounds and two assists off the bench.
“Brent played strong and rebounded well for us,” Coach Huff said. “He played extremely well for a young player who doesn’t have much experience on the floor. He definitely carried us (in the second quarter).”
• Orin Kierczynski showed improvement as a recent addition to J-L’s starting lineup.
He forced three steals to halt Bellaire’s offense at key moments in the first three quarters.
On offense, he stepped up by sinking a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter. He then passed to Brandon Huff for a lay up one possession later.
His five-point swing gave J-L a three-point lead in the final two minutes.
“I thought Orin Kierczynski played well and had a great defensive game,” Huff said. “He had three key steals.
“He’s coming right along and is hitting 3s for us. Teams are now forced to guard him.”
The Cardinals host Northport for a non conference game Monday before visiting Pellston for a conference game Wednesday.
Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Cody Haase scored 12 points to lead the Cardinals past Bellaire 38-29 on Friday.
Timmy LaPointe and McGwire Mathewson each added 10 points for the Cardinals.
Cards cruise past Trojans early in Ski Valley win
CENTRAL LAKE — Johannesburg-Lewiston went to work in the first quarter Friday and Central Lake could never recover.
The Cardinals, 11-4 overall and 11-3 in the Ski Valley, bullied the Trojans early on to record a 72-49 conference win on the road.
In the first quarter, J-L’s Brandon Huff received passes in the post and the took advantage of high-percentage shots. He scored 11 of his 18 points in the opening period while teammate Logan Huff added six points himself.
J-L carried a 23-13 lead into the second quarter.
“We started out really strong at the beginning with good looks,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “We made some nice baskets. We were patient and worked in some transition.”
The Cardinals outscored Central Lake 38-25 in the first half and limited the Trojans to eight points in the third quarter.
Logan Huff led J-L with 21 points, and Chad Garton contributed 12. Nathan Fox scored 16 points and shot 10-of-11 from the foul line.
“Nate is doing a better job of penetrating and is getting more comfortable with his guard play,” Coach Huff said. “He’s starting to penetrate and use his leaping ability well.”
Off the bench, Brent Carpenter scored three points and Brendan Prentice added one.
Orin Kierczynski also scored one point.
“Brent, Brendan and Gary (Murphy) gave us some solid minutes,” Coach Huff said. “They had very few turnovers which is huge. When they can come in and give us solid minutes without losing anything offensively, that’s big for us. They’re starting to become role players.”
J-L was 22-of-30 from the foul line as a team.
The Cardinals host Bellaire for a Ski Valley game Friday, Feb. 20.
Johannesburg-Lewiston defeated Central Lake 44-37 in a Ski Valley game Friday.
GAYLORD — Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Nathan Fox didn’t see the lights of the Goodyear Blimp, but coach Troy Huff admitted Wednesday was a good day for the junior.
The Cardinals put Fox on the court and he was trouble. The small forward messed around and got a triple-double (14 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists) to help J-L down rival St. Mary 66-22 in Monsignor Kaminski Gymnasium.
Fox especially excelled grabbing defensive rebounds, where he’d pass boards down court to his teammates for easy points in transition.
Afterward, Huff didn’t hesitate to call Fox the game’s top gun.
“He’s explosive, and I’ve been talking to him about being more explosive by getting back to the things he does well,” Huff said. “In the last couple of games, he’s been kind of standoffish. We do have him playing a new position, and he’s like a three. He’s still trying to find his way and gel with that.
“I told him tonight I needed more points out of him. Everyone has pushed their game up a notch, but he hadn’t. But tonight he did, and he did what he is supposed to do.”
Added St. Mary coach Ken Blust: “(Fox) had a rebound where I watched him, and he’s such a smart player, go up and work his tail off. He got a big rebound and by time he placed his second foot (on the floor), he had both eyes up and looking and scanning the court to see who is where.
“Here’s your big man running the break for you.”
Fox’s six rebounds in the first quarter, along with the seven turnovers J-L’s defense forced, sparked the Cardinals’ early on.
Their transition offense earned a 23-4 lead over St. Mary and the Snowbirds never recovered from the deficit.
“I thought transition was at the top of our game tonight,” Huff said. “We pushed the ball up the floor for good looks, and I thought the boys played exceptionally well.”
J-L (10-4, 10-3 Ski Valley) outscored St. Mary 40-12 in the first half and forced a running clock shortly into the fourth quarter.
J-L’s Logan Huff led all scorers with 17 points and six assists, while Chad Garton had 14 points. Brandon Huff finished with 12 points after shooting 4-for-4 in the first half.
“When you have four guys who can run the floor well, crash the boards, are tough in the paint and can turn around to start the transition while looking for the outlet, that’s tough and tough to beat,” Blust said.
Wednesday was another opportunity for St. Mary’s younger players and recently added upperclassmen to improve.
Orin Beningo played in his second game of the season, while Levi Milan (knee) continued to regain his offensive groove after missing five games with an injury.
The Snowbirds (1-14, 0-13) also returned Jack Lochinski and Anders Marquard. The two seniors missed the past three games because of a mission trip.
Blust said the Snowbirds are still trying to gel as a team.
“We had two guys who came back after three games,” Blust said. “The next thing you know they’re putting up shots that aren’t necessarily in their wheelhouse prior to them leaving.
“(Marquard) played with a lot of energy tonight, but the problem is it looked like we were playing frustrated all evening. They knew they were out manned and frustrated. That turned into dumb decisions and dumb fouls.”
St. Mary’s Ethan Szymanski scored seven points and pulled down a team-best five points to lead the Snowbirds.
Josh Nowicki, Drew Long and Milan each scored three points for a St. Mary squad that struggled to score in the post.
“JoBurg does a good job defending the paint, and they had hands all over the place,” Blust said. “They’re tough and physical, and their bodies are everywhere. They did a better job than us.”
• Wednesday was pivotal for J-L because recent transfer Brent Carpenter received extra minutes off the bench. He finished with seven points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals — his best performance of the year.
The junior is the tallest player on the court in most games, and Coach Huff wants to hone Carpenter’s skills now so he’s a force to play against next season.
“He played extremely well tonight,” Huff said. “He’s going to be part of the mainstay of this team next year. The more playing time I can give him now, the better he’s going to be for us next year.”
Even when J-L gave players such as Carpenter, Gary Murphy and Brendan Prentice extra playing time in the second half, St. Mary struggled to score on the Cardinals.
Blust thought Carpenter had plenty to do with that.
“For Carpenter, a kid who hasn’t played much ball, he’s come a long ways,” Blust said. “They looked to feed him in there. I know Troy wanted to get him touches.
“In a way, I admired that because I knew where he was going with the ball, but the kid finished strong next to the rim and did a nice job.”
The Cardinals visit Central Lake for a Ski Valley game Friday.
St. Mary hosts unbeaten Boyne Falls for a non conference game Monday. The Loggers, who took down J-L on opening night, may be the top team the Snowbirds face all season.
However, Boyne Falls has played two of its last three games without Marcus Matelski (foot), the team’s leading scorer. It’s still unknown if he’ll be available against the Snowbirds next week.
“They’re probably the best team in Northern Michigan,” Blust said. “With or without their No. 1 man, they can roll well with adjustments, as we saw in the districts last year when (Brendan Matelski) went out with a hand injury and still played around him.
“They have a very high IQ and know who needs to touch the ball.”
Blust said the key to the game is to continue giving his younger players solid playing time.
“For us, we have to keep coming out,” he said. “We’re going to continue to put on the floor a number of young pups. They need to continue to learn and keep their emotions in check. That way when we get into this position next year, they’ll know how to handle themselves.”
St. Mary’s Billy Koenig and Cal Gilling each scored 10 points to lift the Snowbirds over visiting Johannesburg-Lewiston 47-36 in a conference game Wednesday.
St. Mary’s Andrew Greif, who is battling a recent injury, added seven points.
J-L’s Timmy LaPointe had 11 points, Cody Haase added 10 and McGwire Mathewson finished with five.
Cards pull out road win over Bulldogs in OT
INDIAN RIVER — Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Nathan Fox and Logan Huff each made baskets down the stretch to help the Cardinals defeat host Inland Lakes 61-58 in overtime Friday.
After a J-L steal, Fox put in a quick basket and on the next possession, Huff hit a shot to secure the win and snap a two-game losing streak for the Cardinals (9-4, 9-3 Ski Valley).
“The boys were very patient in overtime to get good looks,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “We started pressuring (Inland Lakes) on defense, and they forced shots that resulted in them missing and us going ahead.”
In the waning moments of the fourth quarter, J-L’s Orin Kierczynski sank two foul shots to knot the score 51-51.
J-L fouled Inland Lakes’ Andrew Dufek while he was shooting a buzzer beater from half court. Dufek missed all three foul shots and the game went into an extra frame.
“I-Lakes is much improved, and (Inland Lakes coach Joe Mahoney) did a good job coaching them up since we beat them (65-38 in January),” Coach Huff said.
J-L’s Chad Garton scored 22 points and finished with six rebounds, five assists and two steals. He also shot 4-of-8 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Also for the Cardinals, Brandon Huff scored 16 points and added seven rebounds and three steals, Fox had seven points and eight rebounds, and Logan Huff tallied 12 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals.
“Our transition ball wasn’t there, but I thought it was a great team effort by all the boys,” Coach Huff said. “We got good looks and had good looks all night.”
Kierczynski, a recent addition to J-L’s starting lineup, scored four points, while Brent Carpenter came off the bench and used his height well on defense.
“Orin gave us some good minutes,” Coach Huff said. “Brent came in and his length made it difficult for I-Lakes’ shooters to shoot over.”
Inland Lakes is 7-7 overall and 5-6 in the Ski Valley.
Consistency slows down Cards in shootout with Forest Area
JOHANNESBURG — Johannesburg-Lewiston lost its second consecutive game Wednesday, as inconsistency continues to plague its boys basketball team’s new starting lineup.
The Cardinals, 8-4 overall and 8-3 in the Ski Valley, are 1-2 since the abrupt transfer of one of their starting guards. His loss has also hurt the team’s chemistry which, at times, has hindered them in key moments of tough conference games.
That was evident in both the first and fourth quarters of J-L’s 62-60 loss to visiting Forest Area on Wednesday.
The Warriors (9-5, 8-2) gashed the Cardinals in both quarters with a pair of long runs, limited J-L’s ability to score in transition and forced several untimely turnovers.
“We have to play a full 32 minutes of ball,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “We had an eight- or nine-point lead, and we let them chip right away.
“We had 11 turnovers, and it’s crucial that you can’t have those at the end, when you go to the wire with a good team. That’s the bottom line.”
Forest Area’s Chad Roberts took over the game from the onset, knocking down his first four shots and finishing the first quarter with 10 of his 30 points.
He found success driving through the lane for lay ups and dumping the ball off to teammates, like Austin Vance, underneath for high-percentage scores.
He also poured in a pair of 3-pointers during his team’s 18-13 run in the first.
“We didn’t sag in, and we weren’t moving our feet in the first half,” Huff said. “We were letting Roberts penetrate the lane. None of our players were sliding over to take away the lane from him.”
The Warriors controlled play for 3/4 of the game, but J-L outscored the Warriors 18-8 in the third quarter to capture a seven-point lead entering the final eight minutes.
During that stretch, the Cardinals, led by Nathan Fox, turned each defensive rebound into a transition scoring opportunity. Fox pulled down several of his 13 boards and tossed them down court to teammate Logan Huff.
Huff finished with 12 of his 24 points under the rim during the quarter, while Brandon Huff added two baskets and Orin Kierczynski scored another — all in transition.
Coach Huff said J-L took away the lane from Roberts in the third. Doing so held Forest Area to 4-of-12 shooting and created most of J-L’s opportunities sprinting down the floor.
“In the third and fourth, we were sliding and (Roberts) tripped over himself trying to force (shots),” Huff said. “We were able to take (rebounds) the other way and run transition of them.”
Six turnovers killed the Cardinals in the fourth quarter and allowed Forest Area to tie the game 56-56 after Vance scored a pair of lay ups with two minutes remaining.
Two foul shots in the bonus from both Roberts and Trevor Vance gave Forest Area the ultimate edge in the last 25 seconds, despite Logan Huff scoring a 3-pointer as time expired.
J-L’s Brandon Huff helped the Cardinals in the shootout by scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds. Fox tallied nine points, and Chad Garton sank a pair of 3-pointers and finished with eight points. Garton also had six assists, while Logan Huff added five.
Forest Area’s Austin Vance scored 15 points and had six rebounds and four assists. He also added one thunderous block on Brandon Huff with 20 seconds left that ultimately ended J-L’s comeback attempt altogether. Trevor Vance had seven points.
The Warriors limited themselves to only nine turnovers.
• The loss marked J-L’s third in its last five games, and it has gone 1-4 against teams currently in the top half of the Ski Valley standings during that stretch.
• Coach Huff identified J-L’s issue with scoring. He said his squad must do a better job of finding the open player in the post on the weak side, especially when a team such as Forest Area is overplaying its alignment on defense.
“We didn’t finish in the paint,” Huff said. “That’s especially true when they overplayed they ball side, and that’s exactly what they were doing. We just have to finish on the weak side.”
The Cardinals visit Inland Lakes (7-6) for a conference game Friday.
Johannesburg-Lewiston overcame a four-point halftime deficit to defeat visiting Forest Area 43-40 in Ski Valley play Wednesday.
The Cardinals trailed 19-15 before it regained the lead in the third quarter for good.
J-L’s Haydn Paffi and McGwire Mathewson each led with 11 points, while Timmy LaPointe chipped in 10.
Cards lose Ski Valley lead after Mancelona loss
MANCELONA — Johannesburg-Lewiston is no longer tied for first place in the Ski Valley following Friday’s 57-45 loss to the Brandon Dingman-led Mancelona boys basketball team.
Dingman showed why Division I college basketball scouts are recruiting him, as the senior scored 35 points for the Ironmen.
“Chad Garton guarded (Dingman) and did a nice job in the first half,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “Dingman shot very well with a hand in his face on most shots.”
Aside from Dingman’s brilliance, J-L was limited by its inability to score underneath the rim.
“We missed a lot of puppies underneath and missed a lot of shots we typically make,” Huff said. “We didn’t finish when we had the ball in transition, and that was the deciding factor. We usually finish strong in transition with steals.”
J-L, 8-3 overall and 8-2 in conference, trimmed Mancelona’s lead to seven points in the second half, but the Ironmen continued to separate from the Cardinals.
J-L’s Logan Huff scored 17 points, Brandon Huff added 14, Nathan Fox chipped in nine and Garton ended with five.
The win improved Mancelona to 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the Ski Valley.
With upcoming games against Bellaire, Onaway and Forest Area, the Ironmen could jump into contention for the conference title if they steal a few wins during that stretch.
“(Mancelona’s) coach did a great job preparing for us,” Troy Huff continued. “They made a nice run against us.
“It’ll be interesting to see if they can beat Bellaire and win out (to win the conference title).”
Bellaire (9-2, 9-1) stands alone in first place of the Ski Valley.
J-L hosts Forest Area on Wednesday for its next game.
Johannesburg-Lewiston beat host Mancelona 48-22 on Friday.
Cardinals rebound from tough week with statement win over Onaway
JOHANNESBURG — Johannesburg-Lewiston wanted to make a statement after how rough last week was for its boys basketball team.
The Cardinals dropped a crucial game at Bellaire that put them in a tie for first place in the Ski Valley. A win over the Eagles could have given them the top spot in the conference standings outright.
Three days later, one of their starting guards abruptly left the team and transferred to Grayling for an opportunity to impress college scouts by playing for a bigger school.
J-L’s players said enough was enough Wednesday. It took the floor with a chip on its shoulder and bullied its way to a dominating 66-50 win over visiting Onaway.
J-L did it with its defense, half-court offense and excelled by scoring in transition.
“(Onaway) is a much bigger team than us, but we played great defense,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “Our guys are very scrappy, and I love this team. They fight hard until the end.
“We were very patient on offense and had really good looks. Onaway had some true bigs, and it made it tough to score underneath. But I still believe our bigs are some of the best in the league and are at least the most athletic.”
Logan Huff led J-L with 24 points, six rebounds and four steals. He also finished with seven assists, as he often dumped the ball down low for post players.
Brandon Huff bodied his way to 15 points, finishing 6-of-10 from the floor and grabbing six rebounds, while Nathan Fox added six points and 10 rebounds.
Also for the Cardinals, Chad Garton took advantage of open shots from long-range, drives to the basket and back-door cuts to finish with 18 points and four rebounds.
Onaway entered the matchup in third place in the conference, with Joe Sigsby leading its squad as the top scorer. He averages over 20 points per game and was fresh off a 34-point effort against Inland Lakes.
J-L, 8-2 overall and 8-1 in the Ski Valley, made stopping Sigsby its game plan, and that’s exactly what the Red and Black did.
It held the junior to 0-for-7 shooting in the first half, and he didn’t make his first shot until late in the third quarter. He finished with five points and shot a lowly 2-of-19 from the floor and 0-for-8 from 3-point range.
“We were looking at pressuring him and playing him tight,” Huff said. “We wanted to let anybody but Sigsby beat us.”
Unfortunately for Onaway, there was only one body who could take advantage of J-L’s defense — big man Pat Dunn.
Dunn posted up on the block and led his team with 24 points and 14 rebounds. He was 11-of-18 shooting underneath and also added a pair of blocks to his performance.
The senior scored all eight of Onaway’s points in the first quarter.
“The big kid, Dunn, we knew he was tough,” Huff said. “We had had help on him when we could. If not, we let him chip away at his points two at a time.”
With the loss to J-L, Onaway (8-3, 5-3) fell to fourth place in the Ski Valley, as Forest Area jumped the Cardinals in the standings Wednesday.
• J-L junior Orin Kierczynski stepped into the starting lineup Wednesday after one of the Cardinals’ guards transferred to Grayling last week.
The former reserve had four assists and three steals in his debut. He also drained a wide-open 3-pointer in the second quarter.
“Orin came in and didn’t try to do too much,” Huff said. “He played great defense and great help defense.
“He’s a kid who probably had 15 of 20 minutes through the first several games. He had a lot weighing on his shoulders tonight, but he’s a really smart kid. I knew he could handle it, and he did.”
J-L visits Mancelona for a Ski Valley game Friday.
A second-half comeback helped Onaway edge host Johannesburg-Lewiston 47-42 in a Ski Valley game Wednesday.
Onaway trailed the entire first half but put together a comeback and took the lead in the third quarter.
J-L did its best to try and regain the lead in the game’s waning moments, but Onaway’s DJ Fenstermark hit three foul shots in the bonus to preserve the win in the final two minutes.
J-L’s Nick Mays had 13 points, while Kyle May finished with seven.
Onaway’s Randy Tibbits scored 22 points, and Trevor Wregglesworth added eight.
Cardinals sprint past Hornets after early scare
JOHANNESBURG — Johannesburg-Lewiston’s boys basketball team routed visiting Pellston 76-24 in Ski Valley Conference play Thursday, utilizing its transition offense during an explosive first half.
J-L’s Logan Huff scored 19 points in the opening 16 minutes before finishing with 21. He shot 9-of-14 from the floor and added three rebounds and three steals.
Huff also benefited from his team’s breakaways, as he recorded seven assists while dishing the ball to teammates near the rim.
The Cardinals (7-2, 7-1 Ski Valley) received two double-doubles from juniors Nathan Fox and Brandon Huff. Fox scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Brandon Huff tallied 15 points, 14 rebounds and four steals.
Despite J-L’s high scoring and the game’s final score, the Hornets did make things interesting in the first quarter.
Pellston’s Arron Kindall drained two 3-pointers and added another basket to score eight of his team’s final 24 points in the first four minutes.
“It was relatively close at first,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “But we used transition baskets to open up the game. We were too athletic and fast for them, and we got easy looks.”
Kindall, who ended with 13 points, was unable to help Pellston maintain the game’s pace during the ensuing three quarters because of how well J-L’s Spencer White guarded him all night.
“We had to shut (Kindall) down after the first quarter,” Huff said. “And Spencer White did a good job of that by guarding him.”
White also helped the Cardinals on the other end of the floor, chipping in 12 points, four rebounds and two assists, and Chad Garton contributed seven points and three steals.
The Cardinals next visit Onaway, 7-2 overall and 5-2 in conference, for a Ski Valley game Wednesday.
Onaway is battling J-L, Forest Area and Bellaire for a league title this year.
“We just need to have good ball movement against them,” said Huff of the upcoming matchup. “That’s our strength. They’re going to play man defense, so we need to get high-percentage shots like we’ve been doing.
“We need good pressure defense and to run well in transition.”
Cardinals beat rival Snowbirds, remain perfect in league
JOHANNESBURG — Johannesburg-Lewiston’s boys basketball team looks like a completely different squad than the one that was beaten by Boyne Falls by 25 points in the season opener.
The Cardinals, 5-1 overall and 5-0 in the Ski Valley Conference, are now a cohesive unit and are playing as one of the top teams in the league. That was evident Wednesday, when they defeated visiting St. Mary 64-32 in dominating fashion — scoring in transition, banging in shots under the rim and sinking 3-pointers.
J-L opened the game on a 12-0 run and didn’t allow St. Mary to make a basket until 1:41 was left in the first quarter. It led 43-9 at halftime and was able to get all of its bench players considerable minutes during the win.
“If we keep playing ball like we’ve been playing, I think we’re pretty tough,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “We’re patient and good things are happening.
“We’re starting to get our bench some playing time. They’re contributing and getting some minutes.”
Logan Huff led J-L with 20 points, Brandon Huff added 14 and Nathan Fox finished with 13.
St. Mary’s Levi Milan and Jack Lochinski each scored nine points for a young Snowbirds team still finding themselves this season.
“I’m proud of them for keeping their composure tonight, especially in a rivalry game, when it got out of hand, scoreboard wise,” said St. Mary coach Ken Blust, whose team is 1-4. “The effort that they gave tonight was much better than what I saw against Central Lake (last week). I think had we given that effort against Central Lake, it would have put us in the game or given us a victory.”
Also contributing for the Snowbirds, Cole Loffer scored six points and Ethan Szymanski had four.
Blust said the next step for his team this season is to continue to develop its young roster comprised of three seniors, two juniors and three underclassmen.
“We’re going to stay the course, keep our heads up and have to keep working,” Blust said. “Obviously, we have a lot of things we can work on as a very young team. At the same time, we need to keep our heads up and keep our composure.”
• Looking forward to J-L’s next 15 games, it’ll for sure be tested in at least eight of them. That includes Tuesday’s showdown with Bellaire (4-2, 4-1), the team currently in second place in the league standings.
“Bellaire is a big game for us,” Huff said. “Obviously, we’re 4-0 in the Ski Valley and are the ones with the target on our back at this point. We’re looking to extend that to 5-0 after playing them.”
• St. Mary shot 9-of-13 from the foul line, its best effort yet this season.
Johannesburg-Lewiston’s McGwire Mathewson scored 14 points and sparked the Cardinals to a 44-30 comeback win over visiting St. Mary in Ski Valley action Wednesday.
Mathewson, a dominate post player, hit a 3-pointer in the second quarter and came up with a huge block that helped the Cardinals erase an early deficit.
J-L’s Timmy LaPointe added nine points.
St. Mary’s Drew Long scored 10 points, while Josh Powers chipped in six.
The loss dropped St. Mary’s record to 4-1 overall.
Cardinals cruise past Trojans with well-rounded effort
JOHANNESBURG — In Johannesburg-Lewiston’s 66-39 win Wednesday over visiting Central Lake, the Ski Valley Conference game was never in doubt for the Cardinals.
As a matter of fact, the only thing that was in doubt during the entire game was whether or not J-L’s Nathan Fox could throw down a wide-open dunk in the fourth quarter. As it turned out, the junior’s attempt bounced off the rim, floated in the air and swished to give him the last basket he needed for a double-double before checking out of the game.
Fox finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists and was a catalyst who sparked the Cardinals’ success running in transition and passing in the half court. If he could only have jumped an inch or two higher, a successful dunk would have capped his well-rounded performance — an effort that improved J-L’s record to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the Ski Valley.
“Fox is playing incredible this season,” J-L coach Troy Huff said. “He’s so strong and athletic under the boards. For 6-1, he can jump with the 6-foot-5 guys because he’s explosive to the ball.”
Unfortunately, the game didn’t start with as many highlights as the final score may indicate.
J-L and Central Lake (2-4, 2-3 Ski Valley) played back and forth in the first quarter, each missing shots and committing turnovers when high-percentage scoring opportunities were there for the taking. The Cardinals carried a lowly 8-6 lead into the second quarter before their fireworks finally flew.
J-L opened the period with a 15-4 run, led by Fox’s assists to teammates Logan Huff, Brandon Huff and Chad Garton. After each defensive rebound, the Cardinals ran the floor aggressively and attempted lay ups and shots from short-range. Logan Huff, who scored eight of his 18 points in the quarter, slashed to the hoop and maneuvered his body to put up tough lay ups under the rim.
The Cardinals also excelled in their half-court offense. They patiently moved the ball and worked the perimeter until a drive to the basket or open 15-footer became available.
“We’re getting good looks and are really patient with the ball,” Coach Huff said. “One of our biggest strengths is passing the ball to get the good looks. We’re shooting high-percentage shots and guys are moving and setting screens all of the time.
“It’s a little different offense than last year, but it’s working for us, and it’s playing to our strengths.”
J-L played with a similar effort on defense. It limited Central Lake to six points in the first and second quarters, respectively, and the Trojans shot 15-of-56 from the floor for the game. They also were 2-of-17 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I think defensively, we’re playing decent help defense,” said Coach Huff, whose team nabbed 13 steals. “They’re getting stronger and stronger with more playing time.”
Also scoring for the Cardinals, J-L’s Brandon Huff had 13 points, Garton chipped in 12 and Spencer White added nine. Logan Huff finished with four assists and five steals, while White pulled down six rebounds and Brandon Huff had five.
Central Lake’s Simeon Spalding scored 10 pounds, grabbed eight rebounds and had three blocks. Connor Zook added nine points, and Chris Corbett and Jared Hebden each had seven rebounds.
• While the Cardinals won convincingly, Central Lake was without starter Isaac Mortenson who was out with an injury.
• J-L shot 8-of-13 from the foul line.
• The Cardinals scored 23 points in the third quarter, and six different players tallied points during the eight-minute stretch — including recent Mio transfer Brent Carpenter.
J-L hosts St. Mary on Wednesday before visiting Bellaire on Tuesday, Jan. 20.
Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Haydn Paffi scored 22 points to help the Cardinals defeat visiting Central Lake 62-39 in Ski Valley play Tuesday.
J-L’s Cody Haase chipped in seven points.
Central Lake’s Jayce Hoogerhyde and Eddie Boh each scored 11 points.
Logan Huff leads J-L in battle of 2 of Ski Valley's best
JOHANNESBURG — Logan Huff scored a game high 23 points for the Cardinals during a Ski Valley Conference win and handing the Bulldogs their first loss of the season on Tuesday.
For Inland Lakes, Ryan Howery scored 12 points and Andrew Dufek added eight.
JoBurg jumped out to a 21-6 first quarter lead.
The Bulldogs started the second quarter with a 5-0 run, and pulled to within 10 points, but the Cardinals would pull away and went into halftime stretching the lead to 38-18.
“We started slow tonight,” Inland Lakes coach Joe Mahoney said. “We tried to play catch up, and that did not work for us.”
Inland Lakes tried to cut into the JoBurg lead once again to start the third quarter, and the Cardinals would pull away, leading as the quarter ended, 55-30.
Inland Lakes fell to 3-1 overall, 2-1 in league. The Bulldogs will travel to Bellaire on Tuesday, Jan. 13.
Cardinals hold on late against revamped Warriors
Johannesburg-Lewiston led by as many as 11 points in the second half, but it narrowly defeated host Forest Area 56-54 in a Ski Valley Conference game Thursday.
The Cardinals played on one day of rest following its close win against league contender Mancelona on Tuesday.
Fortunately for them, their fatigue didn't get the best of them during crunch time, allowing them to improve to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in conference.
"Our legs weren't back underneath us yet," J-L coach Troy Huff said. "We looked tired tonight after playing the Mancelona game Tuesday and with exams this week."
Forest Area made a small comeback late, but J-L's Nate Fox, who finished with 13 points, was 7-of-7 from the foul line to help preserve his team's lead.
"We were up by 11 points, but they hit a couple of 3-pointers to get back in it," Huff said. "But they're (Forest Area) not a bad team. I wasn't expecting them to be that disciplined, but they look like they'll surprise some teams in the conference this year — maybe even us."
The Cardinals shot 53 percent from the floor, while Brandon Huff had his best offensive performance of the young season. He scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Logan Huff added 14 points and Spencer White contributed eight points and six rebounds.
"We got out there with the win," Troy Huff said. "And we're glad to have it."
J-L is off for the holiday break. When it returns, it'll host Inland Lakes at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6, at home.
Forest Area defeated visiting Johannesburg-Lewiston 51-47 in a Ski Valley game Thursday.
Cardinals stave off tough Mancelona squad in Ski Valley contest
JOHANNESBURG — Nursing a 3-point lead, a defensive effort by Johannesburg-Lewiston junior Logan Huff helped his team secure a 55-52 win over visiting Mancelona in the closing seconds of a Ski Valley Conference boys basketball game Tuesday.
Mancelona standout Brandon Dingman looked for a shot late to hopefully to send the game into overtime, when Huff stripped him of the ball with five seconds remaining to give the Cardinals their first win of the year.
"It was a total group effort tonight and in practice this week," J-L coach Troy Huff said. "We had a lot of guys on the bench who didn't get playing time, but they were all great role players in practice to help us prepare for this game. It's tough anytime you play against Brandon Dingman, and they were key in getting us ready for him."
Mancelona trailed by as many as 10 points for most of the night, but it battled back in the third quarter by outscoring J-L 18-12. The Cardinals held serve in the fourth quarter, while Logan Huff's effort later preserved the win.
Chad Garton led J-L with 17 points, while Nathan Fox and Brandon Huff each scored 10 points and added seven rebounds.
Logan Huff finished with 10 assists, nine points, five steals and three rebounds, and Spencer White added nine points and grabbed one rebound.
"We were patient with the ball to get good looks," Huff said. "We reduced the turnovers, and there were very few tonight. We had four in the first half.
"I preach to my guys all of the time that you can't have a lot of turnovers and you have to make all of your free throws, and we shot really well from the line tonight, too."
Of the practice players Huff was keen on, Orin Kierczynski entered the game off the bench and filled in well when Fox was in foul trouble early.
"Fox got into foul trouble with three before halftime," Huff said. "Orin did an excellent job coming off the bench. He had no turnovers and was a great role player."
Dingman scored 24 points, while Logan Borst had 19 for a Mancelona team (1-2) that visits Bellaire for its next game at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6.
The Cardinals (1-1) are hitting their stride after falling to Boyne Falls in the season opener. They hope to make it two wins in a row when they visit Forest Area for a league game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18.
"We had to get the guys back focused on playing basketball against Boyne Falls," Huff said. "They were still kind of in football mode, but we played extremely well as a team tonight and it was nice to see. Hopefully, we can continue to get better going forward."
Mancelona edged host Johannesburg-Lewiston 55-48 in a Ski Valley game played Tuesday
Prep Boys Basketball A top to bottom look at the Ski Valley Conference
GAYLORD — The Ski Valley Conference is top heavy this season and everyone wants to dethrone Bellaire from retaining the conference crown.
The Eagles suffered defeat only once last season, falling to Boyne Falls in the district tournament, but finished 21-1 and won the Ski Valley title. They've reloaded their roster yet again and prove to be the favorites this season — but not if Mancelona and Johannesburg-Lewiston get in their way.
Mancelona returns one of the best athletes in the conference in Brandon Dingman. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 27 points per game as a junior and should be the catalyst that improves the Ironmen's record from the 15-5 it was last season.
J-L is the deepest team as it brings back lots of young and experienced talent in Brandon Huff, Logan Huff, Spencer White, Chad Garton and Nathan Fox. Last year's 12-8 record was a snippet to what this junior-laden team could do this season and with the depth it has behind the starters, it'd be shocking to see them drop more than two or three conference games.
A few other teams hope to compete with the conference's heavyweights as well.
Inland Lakes lost eight games by seven points or fewer last season but hopes it can jump into the top tier of the league with its young talent this year.
Back are starters Andrew Dufek and Michael O'Conner. Both were all-conference and averaged over 10 points per game as sophomores one year ago.
Another player returning with varsity experience is Ryan Howery. He averaged six points as a sophomore but because he grew a few inches over the summer, the Bulldogs expect more production out of him this winter.
The Bulldogs are also excited to see how well incoming freshman Ian Clancy does on the big stage.
Helping Inland Lakes the most so far is how productive of an offseason it had. The team took advantage of summer workouts, camps and the AAU circuit and also installed a new offense to get wing players more involved on the scoring end of the floor.
Should the Bulldogs find chemistry on offense throughout the year, they could be the sleeper team to watch for in the conference race.
North of Indian River by 20 miles of road, Pellston has worked long hours to put together a starting lineup that will take the program from the basement to the middle of the pack in the Ski Valley.
The Hornets are another team familiar with offseason hard work, but the challenge they face is inexperience. While several of their players have varsity experience, none of them contributed in a significant role last year.
That'll change when seniors Garrett Robinson, Remy Smithkey and Zach Prell get their shot to take over the team.
An early favorite to be Pellston's leading scorer is Arron Kindell. The Hornets pulled him from the junior varsity last season, and he saw eight games of varsity play before the year ended. They hope he can use his athletic approach to the game to find open shots outside and also expect him to work on his ability to drive to the rim before the postseason kicks off.
Pellston finished seventh in the league standing one year ago. It's goal is to break into the middle tier of the conference and compete with the best. That will all hinge on how well the other teams, Onaway, Forest Area, Central Lake and St. Mary, fare going into the district tournament.
Unfortunately, football injuries and graduation have hurt St. Mary's depth already this season. The Snowbirds entered the school year with a respectable roster poised to upset a few conference teams, but it's already without senior Orion Beningo and junior Adam Nowicki, both of whom will be sidelined for almost the entire winter.
The team was already in a tough place because it's forced to replace Charles Strehl and Nick Harrington. Strehl scored 350 points one season ago, while Harrington translated his gridiron game as the Ski Valley's Offensive MVP as a quarterback to one of the most efficient shooting guards in Northern Michigan.
St. Mary returns Jack Lochinski to its back court and will have a host of big men in Ethan Szymanski, Anders Marquard and Cole Loffer to step in for Beningo on the boards.
Johannesburg-Lewiston suffered a setback on opening night
BOYNE FALLS — Johannesburg-Lewiston suffered a setback on opening night Tuesday.
Boyne Falls nailed 10 3-pointers to dispatch the visiting Cardinals 62-37 in a non conference tilt.
"It was a tough loss, obviously, in the first game of the year," J-L coach Troy Huff said. "We're still trying to find continuity between our players, but Boyne Falls is a very good team that was 20-2 last year."
Nathan Fox's 11 points led a J-L team that was outscored in each quarter.
The Cardinals (0-1) will regroup before their next game, a Ski Valley Conference showdown with visiting Mancelona at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16.
"As the year progresses, because we just got out of football, we'll get stronger and stronger as a team," Huff said.
Boyne Falls (1-0) is off until it hosts Mackinaw City on Thursday, Dec. 18.
Johannesburg-Lewiston returns experienced youth to the hardwood
Johannesburg-Lewiston (12-8) may have finished a shade over .500 last year, but it did so while playing a ton of underclassmen.
Back from that boys basketball team this season are Logan Huff, Brandon Huff, Nathan Fox, Spencer White and Chad Garton.
Logan Huff, a junior, is a two-time All-Ski Valley Conference Second Team player who averaged 16 points and six assists as a sophomore. Junior Brandon Huff aided his cousin by averaging 12 points and nine rebounds as sophomore as well.
Both were Herald Times All-Area First Team players a year ago, while Fox was Second Team as a sophomore, too. He contributed 10 points and seven rebounds per game.
Also helping the Cardinals, both White and Garton scored six points per game as a freshman and junior, respectively.
J-L's young veterans are joined by newcomers Orin Kierczynski, Jeremiah Chappell, Gary Murphy and Brent Carpenter.
Fans received an early glimpse of the Cardinals' young promise during last season's Class C district semifinal.
Although they exited the postseason after Boyne City topped them 69-40, they did hold the fourth-ranked Ramblers close during the first half of the game. They used scrappy play and kept every Rambler, except guard Corey Redman, a Central Michigan University men's basketball signer, to few scoring opportunities in the first quarter.
That type of performance could boost them into an early run in the Ski Valley Conference this season, where Bellaire (16-0 in conference last season), Mancelona (13-3) and Onaway (12-8) stand in the way as their challengers for the league title.
The Cardinals also have a tough, deep district draw this year. While Boyne City is not in this time around, J-L could draw either Elk Rapids, Mancelona, Glen Lake, Grand Traverse Academy or Traverse City St. Francis. Fortunately, J-L will have home court advantage come March.
J-L visits Boyne Falls for its season opener at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, before hosting Mancelona to kick off Ski Valley play on Tuesday, Dec. 16.
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