2018-01-18 / Sports

Bears bounce back from loss, bite Comets

By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor

JOEY WEBER of Buckley (5) floats a shot toward the basket Tuesday in the second quarter of a Northwest Conference contest at Leland. JOEY WEBER of Buckley (5) floats a shot toward the basket Tuesday in the second quarter of a Northwest Conference contest at Leland. For at least one quarter, the lone contest in Leelanau County on Tuesday was worth the price of admission. The fast-paced free-for-all featured 3-pointers from NBA range, hard drives to the hole and a flurry of fast-break buckets.

Buckley made sure the back-and-forth dynamic didn’t last long.

Denver Cade and Austin Harris torched Leland with transition bucket after transition bucket as the Bears blew up for 31 first-quarter points — and continued attacking until the fourth quarter — in an 83-38 conference win.

Leland coach Jon Kiessel said he had instructed his Comets (3-4, 0-4 Northwest) to take part in the run-and-gun flow of the game.

“That was the goal: Try to keep the pace up,” Kiessel said. “We weren’t interested in how many points Buckley scored; we wanted to play aggressively. We weren’t interested in trying to slow the game down and having some sort of painfully drawn-out game. It’s never fun getting beat up on, but it was kind of a fun game. The guys played hard and it was full tilt the whole time.”

Cade poured in a game-high 24 points, scoring 18 in the first half. Harris tacked on 21 points and Joey Weber pitched in with 13.

The Bears (4-3, 4-1 Northwest) suffered their third loss of the season last Thursday in a 16-point loss at Frankfort and started slow defensively against the Comets but overcame the sluggish start by pushing the pace, attacking the paint and crashing the glass with regularity. Kiessel said Buckley corralled offensive rebounds on 26 of their 40 missed field-goal attempts.

“They all can score and they’re all so physical and quick to the rim and quick to the ball,” Kiessel said. “If there’s any hint of a loose ball, they just go get it.”

Buckley raced out to a 31-16 lead through the first quarter and closed out the first half up 54-26. The 2017 Class D finalist kept it going in the third quarter, too, outscoring the Comets 23-5.

Leelanau County’s top scorer, senior guard Garett Miller, matched his season low with 12 points in the loss while Greyson Carlson scored seven points and JJ Popp chipped in with six.

Kiessel rotated reserves in liberally from the get-go, often subbing in five fresh players at a time.

“In general, it’s a good thing for us to get everybody out there playing hard,” Kiessel said, “and they all did.”

The Comets will be looking for their first conference win tonight as they welcome Benzie Central.

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