CARSON CITY — Laingsburg senior Shaun McKinney got hot at the right time.
McKinney scored 10 consecutive Wolfpack points in what turned out to be a game deciding 14-2 run in the second quarter of the Class C district final at Carson City-Crystal on Friday.
The Wolfpack (20-2) run turned a 15-15 game into a 29-17 halftime advantage. It was a deficit the Eagles could not overcome in the second half in a 53-38 season ending loss.
“That was significant. For a while it felt like a chess match and not a basketball game,” Wolfpack coach Gregg Mitchell said of McKinney’s run. “Friday night with the home court advantage you never know what is going to happen. They (CC-C) finished the season strong, but I’m proud of my guys for making a few plays.”
Carson City started the game slow and trailed 7-2 midway through the first quarter. Trailing 15-7, Brann Schmitt and Grant Gage hit back-to-back baskets to end the first quarter down 15-13.
Schmitt scored the first basket of the second quarter to tie the game, but that’s when the Wolfpack pulled away.
“They were very physical. They battled and I think we battled with them,” Eagles coach Ryan Fritz said. “That is a very talented basketball team and I’m proud of our guys for the effort they put forth.
“We knock down a few more shots and it’s a closer game in the third and fourth quarter,” he added.
The Eagles were held to just four points in the second quarter.
“There were a couple of shots that didn’t go down for us and I thought we turned the ball over a few too many times,” Fritz said. “They (Laingsburg) will force you to do that because of how hard they play defense.
“Look what they did to Pewamo (44-33 win Wednesday in district semifinal). We scored more points against against them than Pewamo did,” he added.
Laingsburg extended its lead to 35-19 at one point and led 42-27 after three quarters.
“We didn’t play as well as we can and probably should, but credit Carson City for that,” Mitchell said. “We put a lot of energy into Wednesday’s win and knew our legs would be a little bit heavy, but I thought we did a nice job in the second quarter to give ourselves an arms length distance.”
Carson City made a run to start the fourth quarter with three consecutive baskets to get within nine points at 42-33 with 5:30 remaining.
Laingsburg responded with a 5-0 run for a 49-33 lead. Carson City was forced to foul the rest of the way and the Wolfpack knocked down 5-of-7 free throws to seal the game.
Schmitt led the Eagles with 15 points. Hunter Clark added seven points and Arron Haines six points.
Jacob Zielinski scored a game-high 22 points for the Wolfpack. McKinney finished with 15 points.
Carson City finished the year 12-9 overall and was second in the MSAC.
“We gave ourselves an opportunity to win both a league title and a district title this year,” Fritz said. “For our seniors its something to be proud of. We didn’t accomplish either of them, but we gave ourselves the opportunity.”
Laingsburg will face Grandville Calvin Christian in the regional semifinal on Tuesday at Pewamo-Westphalia. Calvin Christian defeated NorthPointe Christian 79-59 in the district final to advance.
LAINGSBURG 53, CC-CRYSTAL 38
Laingsburg 15 14 13 11 — 53
CC-Crystal 13 4 10 11 — 38
LAINGSBURG (20-2) — McKinney 6 1-2 15, Zielinski 7 7-8 22, Edwards 3 0-0 7, Walker 1 0-0 3, Wade 2 2-2 6. Totals: 19 10-12 53. Three-point goals: McKinney 2, Zielinski, Edwards, Walker. Total fouls: 9. Fouled out: None.
CC-CRYSTAL (12-9) — Clark 3 1-1 7, Haines 2 0-0 6, Schmitt 7 0-0 15, M. Schneider 2 0-0 4, J. Schneider 0 1-2 1, Gage 2 0-0 5. Totals: 16 2-3 38. Three-point goals: Haines 2, Schmitt, Gage. Total fouls:15. Fouled out: None.