Howell — It wasn’t a great equation entering Fenton’s district game against the Howell Highlanders, Wednesday night.
The Fenton varsity boys basketball team would’ve been an underdog against the 18-4 Highlanders in just about any scenario, but the Tigers had a few other strikes against them. The first one was the game at Howell High School. But even more impoortant, the Tigers were playing without their First-Team All-Metro League senior Addison McIntosh, who was out due to injury. That put the Tigers in a tough situation offensively, and it ended up being just that in the game. The Tigers lost a 54-27 verdict against the Highlanders in Wednesday’s D1 district semifinal contest.
The Tigers were able to convert on 12-of-49 shots from the field, including making just four field goals in the second half. The Tigers also managed to get to the free-throw line just one time the entire contest.
“I don’t know what the percentages are, but we’ve been a decent shooting club all year, but not tonight,” Fenton varsity boys basketball coach Chad Logan said. “And when you don’t do one phase really well — defend, shoot, turnovers or whateve — and face a team that has won a lot of games for the second year, it’s gonig to be a tough night.”
The Tigers concluded the season with a 9-12 record overall. The Tigers were a senior-dominated squad. The roster included nine seniors — Trent DeGayner, McIntosh, JP Mcardle, Luke Curran, alec Kussro, Braden Moore, Lucas Claborn, Jacob Boulay and Kade Lookebill.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow with guys who play a lot of basketball,” Logan said. “We have some other guys who play a lot of other sports, but those guys spend a lot of time playing basketball.
“Wins and losses don’t always tell what type of basketball guys we have. We have a bunch of guys that will go to games to play pickup. We have nine seniors and they love basketball and that’s what is tough.”
The Tigers struggled during the first four minutes of the contest, missing four shots and turning the ball over three times during that span. Howell was able to jump to a lead, scoring the first seven points, with the run ending on a Danny Honkala breaking layup.
Fenton finally scored its first two points on a Kussro assist on a post bucket by Lookebill, but Howell followed with the next four points. Fenton trailed 11-2 with two minutes left in the opening quarter. Fenton was able to manage the deficit the rest of the quarter with buckets by Lookebill and DeGayner, keeping the Tigers within a 14-6 margin after one quarter.
The Tigers were able to remain reasonably close in the second quarter. Fenton cut the Howell gap to seven points three times during the second quarter. The first came at 17-10 on a driving layup by Kussro. the second time came at 19-12 on a Lookebill six-footer and the third time came at 21-14 on a Lookebill jumper. Finally, an inside hoop by Claborn cut the gap to 23-16 with 1:22 left in the first half. That ended up being the halftime score.
The third quarter ended the Tigers’ shot at making a combeack. Howell’s Tony Honkala hit a three-pointer, raising the Howell lead to 26-16. The Tigers were never able to get their deficit within single-digits again. The last time the Tigers were within 10 was at 28-18 on a putback hoop by Kussro. However, Howell scored the final eight points of the quarter, resulting in a 36-18 deficit entering the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter did start with DeGayner hitting a three-pointer while getting fouled on the shot. He vonverted the free throw and cut the margin to 34-22 with 7:32 left in the fourth quarter. However, Howell went on a 12-0 run effectively ending the competitive phase of the contest.
Lookebill led the Tigers’ offense with 10 points and four rebounds while DeGayner netted six points. Claborn and Kussro had four points each. Kussro also had four rebounds and two steals while Claborn led the team with five rebounds.