STANTON — Central Montcalm did all it could against the Newaygo Lions.
In the end, the Lions shooting and defensive pressure was too much for a Hornets team struggling with sickness and injuries.
The Hornets (7-8, 5-8) played a solid first half and trailed just 35-31 at halftime. The Lions, though, opened the second half with a 8-0 run for a 12 point advantage. They cruised from there in a 73-52 victory.
“I just thought we had a really, really nice third quarter,” Newaygo coach Terry Bourke said. “We had some early foul trouble and they were doing some nice things offensively against us because we weren’t moving our feet.
“I felt like we played a lot better defense in the third quarter and it was a group effort on that,” he added.
“We started the second half a little bit out of sync,” Hornets coach Dan Basom said. “You have to give Newaygo credit. They shot 56 percent from the floor. When you shoot 56 percent, there aren’t many teams that lose. They played a great ballgame and we weren’t hitting. (shots)”
Overall, the Lions (9-4, 8-4) outscored the Hornets 20-9 in the third quarter for a 55-40 advantage after three quarters. Newaygo had six players score in the quarter and finished the game with four players in double figures.
“We spread the ball around well,” Bourke said. “That has been our calling card lately with five, six guys that can score the ball. Still, the telltale sign for us is defense.”
Central Montcalm continued to battle, but could not cut into the lead.
“Our kids really pushed through. We have some guys with some sickness right now,” Basom said. “You could tell that on the bench and Mason (Barnwell) got hurt toward the end of the half. He is our quarterback, he is our team leader and we look to him.”
In the first half, the Hornets trailed 22-16 after the first quarter, but outscored the Lions 15-13 in the second quarter to keep the game close.
Queen scored 14 points in the first half (finished with a game-high 18 points) and forced the Hornets to alter their defense.
“We went to the 2-3 zone because they weren’t hitting extremely well in the first half,” Basom said. “(Dakota) Queen had 14 points at the half and was doing a heck of a job. We tried to take him away defensively. When we, we packed it in and they started to hit their shots.”
Heath Harrington added 14 points, Jacob Warren 12 and Zach Knight 10 for the Lions.
Todd Switzer and Lan Ledford led the Hornets with 13 points each. Jesse Hoffman finished with 12 points. Ledford had nine rebounds, while Hoffman had five.
Central Montcalm will host White Cloud tonight, while Newaygo hosts Lakeview tonight. Both are makeup games.