2016-12-08 / Sports

New-look Cats stymie Comets

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff


GARETT MILLER of Leland (right) meets an attacking Austin Huck in midair during Tuesday’s regular-season opener in Northport. GARETT MILLER of Leland (right) meets an attacking Austin Huck in midair during Tuesday’s regular-season opener in Northport. Dave Ginsberg promised a good defensive team when he took over as coach of the Northport boys in August — and his Wildcats delivered during their 2016-17 debut this week.

The Wildcats kept visiting Leland off the score sheet for the entire first quarter Tuesday and led by as many as 23 points before walking away with an impressive 48-31 win at home.

“Coach Ginsberg had those boys ready to play,” Leland coach Jon Kiessel said. “They were disciplined on offense and defense. We knew we had to try to increase the number of possessions.

“We just couldn’t do it.”

Patient offense and a willingness to swing the ball around led to balanced scoring and productive possessions for Northport. Austin John, who tallied a team-high 13 points, was one of six Wildcats with six or more points.

The victory was win No. 230 for Ginsberg, albeit his first as a head coach at the Class D level.

“For not having a preseason scrimmage, I felt good,” said Ginsberg, who was recently inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan Hall of Fame. “We played good, we played with a purpose. I think we can play better and I think Leland can, too, but I’m grateful.”

Junior guard Garett Miller, the lone all-county returner for Leland, poured in all eight Leland points in the first half and all 18 Leland points in the fourth quarter, finishing with a game-high and career-high 26 points.

Only two other Comets, Hank Guest and Chris Ursu, found the score sheet.

“Leland will do some damage,” Ginsberg said. “They’re hard to play against. That was a good test for us, to play against a team that does some really aggressive things.”

Northport players will be put to the test again tonight with a tough matchup at Bay City All Saints. The Comets, meanwhile, will look to bounce back at home against St. Mary (1-0).

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