By Greg Gielczyk
PENTWATER — Hot perimeter shooting and a huge third quarter powered the Mason County Eastern boys basketball team to a convincing, 73-47 road victory Wednesday night over Pentwater in the Western Michigan D League.
Eastern warmed up its long range shooting in the first quarter, knocking down three 3-point shots and added five “bunnies,” or layups, to outscore the balanced Falcons, 21-12 at the buzzer.
But the Falcons, playing with four freshmen brought up from the junior varsity to fill out a short roster, weren’t ready to throw in the towel and cut the Cardinal lead to six, 30-24 at the half with a 12-9 edge in the second period.
“We shot the ball very well,” Eastern head coach Mark Forner said. “We started knocking down the three’s in the third quarter. We had three guys (score) over 20 points, so that’s good.”
Eastern ended up with 10 makes from 3-point land, finishing the night shooting a hot 43 percent. The Falcons countered with six triples over their own.
The Cardinals came out for the second half with their hair on fire, busting out of the locker room and scoring 30 points in the third period, while holding the Falcons to 12, and roared into the fourth quarter with a decisive 24-point, 60-36 cushion. Eastern outscored Pentwater, 13-11 in the final eight minutes.
Pentwater was playing its first game in three weeks.
“We are just getting back in the groove,” Falcons head coach Ashley Lubera said. “Drew Kolenda came out strong for us in the t third quarter.
“He is starting to find his groove on the court again offensively, and Campbell Miller owned the boards. Kolenda led our scoring in the second half, and brought chemistry to the offense.
“But, we couldn’t keep up with the veteran Cardinal shooting.”
The Cardinals had three players score over 20 points, with Eli Shoup pacing the attack with 26 points, and he also ripped down 18 rebounds and picked off three steals.
Wyatt Crawford dropped in 24 points, hauled down 10 rebounds, dished out six assists and had two steals. Clay Shoup tossed in 20 points and had two steals. Nate Wing added two steals. James Drake had six rebounds.
Pentwater was led by Jonny Arnouts with 12 points. He also had three rebounds and two steals. Tyler Plummer-Eisenlohr added 10 points and five steals. Kolenda chipped in with nine points and nine rebounds. Miller hauled down eight rebounds.
Eastern improved its record to 6-2 overall and 6-1 in the WMD with its third straight win. The Cardinals have a re-scheduled game against Manistee Catholic Central on the road Saturday at 3 p.m.
Pentwater dropped to 2-3 overall and 2-2 in the conference. The Falcons have another tough challenge Friday with a road trip to Mesick, which leads the league with a 7-0 mark.