Martin’s Charley Martin goes up for a basket during the first game with Fennville as Blackhawk Cian Ortega applies defensive pressure. (Photo by Angie Pena-Smith)

Strong fourth quarter helps Clippers topple Blackhawks

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

Coaches often talk about peaking at the right time and being at your best come tournament season.
It appears as though the Martin boys’ basketball team is doing just that.
The Clippers picked up their fifth consecutive victory thanks to a 53-49 decision over SAC Lakeshore Division-leading Fennville on Friday, Feb. 21.
“It was a great team win for us, beating the first-place team in our conference,” Martin coach Bradley Moelker said. “The win gives us some momentum heading into the last two weeks of the regular season.”
The win avenges a 72-66 loss Martin suffered a month earlier in Fennville. The Clippers led the game heading into the fourth quarter before Fennville made a late charge.
This time it was the Blackhawks who led for much of the game—leading by 10 points at halftime—before succumbing to the Clippers in the final frame.
“I could go on and on about our players because each one stepped up in a different way,” Moelker said. “I was extremely proud to see how they grew during that game.”
Collin Coburn paced the Clippers with 16 points, followed by Charley Martin with 12, all of which came in the second half.
“Charley really stepped up in the second half,” Moelker said. “We challenged him to pick up his intensity and he did.”
Kyle Eckman gave the Clippers a third double-digit scorer with 10 points, while Mitchell Jager was close behind with nine points.
Moelker also praised the play of Gabe Meyers and Brayden Eckman.
“Gabe and Brayden played outstanding games,” Moelker said. “If you looked just at points, you wouldn’t notice all the things they did to impact the game. They handled the ball, limited our turnovers and played fantastic defense.”
Dylan Schut and Tyler Schut paced Fennville with 12 and 11 respective points.
“Martin was scrappy and played better than we did,” Fennville coach Ty Rock said. “We couldn’t hang onto the ball and had a ton of turnovers. Overall we weren’t focused at all and it definitely bit us in the end.”
After the Clippers played a solid opening quarter, Fennville took over in the second quarter to build its 10-point lead heading to halftime.
“Even though, we were down ten we knew we were right in the game,” Moelker said. “We had missed about five free throws and 10 shots right at the rim.  We were a little bit rusty after not playing a game in the last week and a half, but we also just needed a little more focus.”
While disappointed with the loss, Rock believes it will serve as a learning opportunity for his players.
“We will recover from this and look to continue to improve,” he said.
 

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