By Craig Beilfuss
OTSEGO—On a night when the Schoolcraft Eagles put the clamps down on Kent City leading scorer junior Lexi Bowers, the Eagles fans had no need to worry.
Maddie Geers and Emma Geers came to the rescue to lead the Kent City Eagles in dramatic fashion, and back to the semifinals, with a 34-33 victory over Schoolcraft.
Schoolcraft limited Bowers to just one shot in the first quarter. The Geers sisters combined to score all of Kent City’s first-quarter points, with Maddie Geers scoring seven points in the opening eight minutes to lead the Eagles to a 9-7 lead.
Bowers managed to score four points in the second stanza, to go with a 3-pointer by Savannah Miller and a basket by Emma Geers as Kent City held a 9-6 scoring advantage and increased their lead to 18-13 at the halftime break.
“Schoolcraft played tough on ball defense,” said first year Kent City coach Aleah Holcomb. “We missed some easy shots tonight but Schoolcraft played pretty good defense.”
Bowers was elated with the win despite being limited on offense.
“It sucked! They played me up tight and overplayed me a lot tonight,” said Bowers.
Despite scoring only six points, Bowers hauled down four rebounds, had two assists and two blocked shots.
Maddie Geers opened up the third quarter hitting a 3-point shot and Kent City held their largest lead of the game at 21-13.
Schoolcraft answered back with an 8-0 run on baskets by MacKenzie Miller, Hannah Thompson and two buckets by Madison Ingle and the score was tied up at 21-21 with 3:45 remaining in the quarter.
Maddie Geers scored all of Kent City’s seven points in the quarter and kept the Eagles in front by a slim, 25-24 margin headed into the fourth quarter.
Emma Geers not known for offensive power but more for her tough defense, came up big-time for Kent City in the opening three minutes of the fourth quarter.
The senior center hit a two point basket to give Kent City a 27-24 lead. Schoolcraft answered with a bucket and a pair of free throws and regained the lead, 28-27.
It was their last lead of the night, as Emma Geers came up with the biggest shot of the night, with 4:52 remaining, nailing a long distance 3-point shot to put Kent City back in front, 30-28.
“Emma played great tonight, said Holcomb. “She made a lot of good shots and that 3-point shot definitely was one reason why we won the game.”
“I’m a defensive ballplayer, that is what I am known for, not my offense,” said Emma Geers. My job was to handle #42 (MacKenzie Miller) on defense.”
Geers finished with a huge nine points for Kent City to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
Schoolcraft tied things up at 30-30 with a two pointer. Bowers hit a bank shot with 3:53 remaining and Maddie Geers hit a bucket with 3:05 on the clock for a 34-30 lead. Kent city had chances to extend that lead but failed to do so.
Schoolcraft’s Allie Walther hit a 3-point shot to narrow the Kent City lead to 34-33.
Down the stretch, Bowers came up with a key steal with 1:35 remaining. The Eagles ran time off the clock, as they have done in most recent games, and put the ball in Maddie Geers’ hands and sent her to the free throw line, where she is one of the area’s best free throw shooters. On this night though, Geers missed the front end of a bonus situation with :22.5 seconds remaining.
Schoolcraft brought the ball upcourt and called a timeout with 9.6 seconds remaining. Mackenzie Miller had a great look for Schoolcraft but her baseline shot at the buzzer hit the side of the rim and bounced off to secure a Thursday date back in the semifinals in East Lansing for Kent City.
Maddie Geers led the Eagles with a game-high 16 points and three steals and is happy about going back to the Breslin.
“It was a good game,” said Geers. “I don’t usually miss free throws,” she said regarding the missed free throw in the final seconds. “I had to do some different things tonight, like running the point, with Lexie being off and the defense that they were playing. I still think we are one of best guard duo’s in the state,” referring to herself and Bowers.
Mackenzie Miller led Schoolcraft with a team-high 11 points. Teammates Liv Ellison and Madison Ingle each chipped in with six points..
Schoolcraft finishes the season a with 23-2 record.
Kent City stays perfect with an overall record of 25-0.
The Eagles will travel to East Lansing to MSU’s Breslin Center where they will meet Madison Heights Bishop Foley who got by Reese in quarterfinal action on Tuesday evening, 55-48.
Madison Heights will bring a 20-3 record into the semifinal matchup with Kent City. They are a member of the Catholic High School League Intersectional.
Game time is set 2 p.m.