By Greg Gielczyk
SCOTTVILLE — After exploding out of the gate for a 15-0 lead, Mason County Central was never seriously threatened the rest of the way in rolling to a convincing 68-50 non-conference boys basketball victory over visiting Manistee on Tuesday night.
The Spartans snapped a two-game losing streak with the win, and improved their record to 2-4 overall, while the Chippewas saw their losing streak extended to four in a row as they fell to 1-5.
Will Chye helped jump start the Spartans’ offense with a personal 5-0 run, that included a conventional 3-point play after being fouled making a shot.
Manistee didn’t score its first field goal until only 2:30 remained in the first quarter. The Spartans finished the first eight minutes with a 20-9 lead.
The Chippewas scored the first points of the second quarter, and cut the Spartan lead to under 10, 20-11. But that would be as close as they would get, and the Spartans led by 30 points, 45-15 at the half.
But, although the Spartans never led by less than 20 points throughout the rest of the game, coach Tim Genson felt things could have gone better.
“It just felt like we could have been better going to the basket,” said Genson. “We probably had half a dozen easy pups that we didn’t put in.
“We just have to keep getting better, and keep doing the right things. We really hit the 3 well early, I thought. I’d like us to make six, seven 3’s a game. We needed the win.”
Although the Spartans never led by less than 20 points throughout the second half, Manistee outscored them in both the third and fourth quarters.
Manistee had a 19-14 edge in the third period, but the Spartans still maintained a 20-point lead, 54-34 going into the fourth period. The Chippewas also outscored the Spartans in the final eight minutes, 16-14.
Genson wasn’t too happy about that.
“We got a little complacent in the second half,” said Spartans coach Tim Genson. “We got a little lazy in our help (defense), and covering up the gaps.
“To Manistee’s credit, they never let up. The fact of the matter is, we’re still looking for that four quarters, because the third and fourth quarters weren’t the same as the first and second quarter.
We’ve got to do better.”
Chye led the Spartans with 20 points and seven rebounds. Jayden Perrone scored 17 points and added six rebounds, while Landon Smith added seven points and five rebounds.
Manistee’s leading scorer was Caiden Cudney with 16 points. Connor Beaudrie contributed nine points and Connor Rischel had six points and six rebounds.
The Spartans resume West Michigan Conference play on Thursday at Ravenna.