EAST LANSING — All season Central Montcalm coach Gary Buchholz said his boys golf team could shoot in the 320-stroke range for 18 holes.
It took until the Division 3 state finals to do it, but they did, combining for a 313 in the second round of the tournament at Forest Akers East Golf Course on the campus of Michigan State University.
That 313 gave them a two-day total of 653, which moved the Green Hornets up from 15th to 13th in the final standings.
Jackson Lumen Christi won the state title with a 294 second round and a 596 two-day total. Hanover-Horton and Grosse Ile each had a team total of 602 but Hanover-Horton won the tie-breaker for second place.
The best individual score was Sam Weatherhead of Grand Rapids West Catholic, who followed up Friday’s 3-under 69 with a five-under 67 Saturday for 136.
The 313 was the ninth-best team score for the second round.
“Like I said all year long they (Central) haven’t played the best they could,” Buchholz said. “They did now”
The Hornets were led in the second round by Jared Cilibraise, who carded an even-par 72. Ryan Michalek added a 78.
“He (Michalek) missed three or four putts but a 78 was a good score from him,” Buchholz said.
Tyler Sleet shot 80 and Tyler Johnson added an 83. For the tournament Cilibraise totaled 158, Michalek totaled 161, Sleet had a 163 total and Johnson ended up totaling 171.
Buchholz wasn’t frustrated that it took so long for Central to shoot the score he thought they could.
“I can’t say I was frustrated,” he said. “I saw it in them. It took the state finals to bring it out. Here I actually believed that I had two players that could shoot in the 70s. In the last few weeks you could see they were working harder and trying to do better.”
Buchholz isn’t sure why it took until the last round of the year.
“The big difference to start with was just playing better than we did,” he said. “We hit range balls afterward (after the first round Friday) and Jared got zoned in better. Ryan played better. Tyler didn’t have any bad holes. Maybe it was the jitters. I’m not sure.”
But the 313 did have a side benefit, Buchholz noted.
“The 313 made them feel like they belonged down there,” he said. “They moved up. There were 140 teams in the tournament (in all divisions) and we finished 13th. So we feel good.”
Buchholz isn’t expecting the same results next season.
“I’m loaded with seniors and they’re all graduating,” he said of this year’s team, noting only Sleet is returning. “It’s going to be a big thing to get the team established. It’s just a matter of he (Sleet) minus four players. It will be a rebuilding year next year.”