Jacob Gabala handles the ball for Martin. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Clippers open district play with win over Calhoun Christian

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Yes, Martin led throughout the opening quarter of its Class D boys’ basketball district opener with Battle Creek Calhoun Christian on Monday, March 6.
But the score was a little too close for comfort, as far as Clipper coach David Curry was concerned as the advantage stood at 24-22.
“We were comfortable for most of the quarter but got a little too comfortable,” said Curry, whose team scored the game’s first seven points. “Calhoun Christian was able to make a run on us late in the first (including three 3-pointers and five free throws) to finish the quarter.”
The second quarter wasn’t quite so stressful for Curry.
The Clippers outscored Calhoun Christian 20-7 in the second stanza to increase its lead to 15 points en route to securing the 63-43 win.
Martin was scheduled to play host Battle Creek St. Philip in a district semifinal game on Wednesday, March 8, with the winner advancing to the finals on Friday, March 10.
“It wasn’t a pretty win by any means, but the big thing was we did get the win and were able to advance,” Curry said.
Tanner Curry played a big role in Martin’s strong second-quarter showing.
“We were able to get the ball to Tanner on the block and let him go to work,” David Curry said.
Tanner Curry ended up with 21 of the Clippers’ 44 first-half points. He led Martin (12-9) with 28 points for the game.
Martin extended the lead to 20 points early in the third quarter and was up 58-38 at the end of three quarters.
“Once we stretched the lead to 20, and tried to keep our starters off the floor as much as we could for most of the second half,” David Curry said. “The kids that came in off the bench did a really good job of running our offense and protecting that 20-point lead for the remainder of the game.”
Carter Hilton added nine points in the win, with Cayden Curry going for eight. Andrew Boss and Canton VandenBerg added six points each, with Matt MacVean and Jacob Gabala chipping in with three each.
Tanner Curry also had five rebounds, four assists and four steals, all of which led the Clippers.
“We did not start out the game rebounding as well as we normally do, but it seemed to get better as the game wore on,” David Curry said. “Our defense was a little sloppy early on and it ended up getting our guards in some foul trouble. We weren’t rotating on the weak side and got caught on some dumps inside too.
“We did get that stuff fixed and were better in the second half as we held them to 14 points.”
Four days earlier, Martin closed out the regular season with a 70-69 win over Marcellus.
The Clippers fell behind 21-9 after one quarter and were down 60-48 entering the fourth quarter before using a 22-9 fourth-quarter one to pull out the victory.
Tanner Curry hit the winning shot at the buzzer.
“Our defense was outstanding in the fourth and our rebounding matched it,” David Curry said. “That, along with great decisions on the offensive end, ended up being the difference in the game. The grit and determination the kids showed tonight was some of the best I’ve seen from them all year.”
Tanner Curry led the way with 28 points and 14 assists, with MacVean (14 points) and Cayden Curry (12 points) joining him in double figures for points.
Hilton added seven points, while Tanner Curry doled out six assists.

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