2017-01-26 / Sports

Buckley continues dominance of county teams

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff

Denver Cade and his Buckley teammates have had little trouble with Leelanau County teams this season.

Leland was no exception last week.

Cade outscored Leland by his lonesome with 26 points last Thursday as the unbeaten Bears cruised past the Comets with a 77-21 road win.

The Bears, who snapped Frankfort’s 28-game Northwest Conference winning streak in a 50-38 battle for first place on Jan. 17, improved to 4-0 in league play and 7-0 overall with their win over the Comets (3-6, 1-5 Northwest). The third-ranked Bears have now beaten Suttons Bay, Glen Lake and Leland by a combined score of 255-119 in three games this season.

“Buckley plays a 9.5 on the intensity scale while most of us are hovering around a 6,” Leland coach Jon Kiessel said. “At the very beginning, it was hard to replicate the way they brought pressure and put hands in our face. They had a lot of steals we’re not accustomed to seeing.”

The Bears set the tone early, carving through Leland traps and finding open looks near the basket with regularity.

The score at halftime was 43-9.

“They are super aggressive and obviously talented,” Kiessel said. “If one guy takes a risk to go trap, another guy fills the space. We did a little better in the second half, but they’re just tough. It’s hard to slow them down.”

Buckley was just as good defensively, limiting Leelanau County’s then-scoring leader Garett Miller to a season-low six points.

Miller’s previous low was 17 points.

He and the Comets had a chance to bounce back with a makeup game against visiting Onekama on Saturday but, despite leading by as many as 10 points in the second half, fell 41-35.

“It was a frustrating loss,” Kiessel said. “We just didn’t manage the end of the game very well, and they did.”

The Portagers trailed 29-21 through three quarters but found ways to force turnovers, create second-chance opportunities, knock down shots and connect from the free-throw line.

Kiessel lauded the defensive play of Ethan Keys down the stretch, but said his team’s inability to corral defensive rebounds cost them the game.

“That’s a struggle and a point of emphasis as we go forward,” Kiessel said. “We’re going to be challenged in terms of our reach, but we ought not to be challenged in terms of our effort.”

Miller finished with 20 points.

Timmy LeVeque added 10.

The Comets, who were slated to host Benzie after press time last night, will welcome Frankfort on Friday before heading to Kingsley on Wednesday.

Return to top