By Greg Gielczyk
MANISTEE — Mason County Central senior Will Chye went off for 34 points, including a pair of 3-point baskets, in leading the Spartans’ boys basketball team to a convincing 70-45 non-conference win over Manistee on the road Friday night.
It was the first game of the season for both teams, but the Spartans didn’t show it as they ran the floor from start to finish and never tired, although they did get off to a cold start.
“Kind of a classic first game, a little jitters, a little amped up,” said Spartans’ head coach Tim Genson. “I thought we started getting it going kind of mid-first quarter, and had a bad finish to that quarter.
“The second quarter really kind of allowed us to break out. I thought we moved the ball well, I thought we moved pretty good defensively. We’ve got to keep doing a better job of moving our feet and helping.
“We haven’t opened up the season with a win in a long time. So, it was nice to do that.”
After breaking out to a 9-2 lead midway through the first quarter, the Spartans faltered a bit and permitted the Chippewas to climb back into the game. It was tied, 12-12 at the buzzer.
But then the Spartans defense throttled the Chippewas in the second period, and used their quickness to run them ragged offensively.
The Spartans outscored the Chippewas, 20-2 in the second period, including a finishing 17-0 burst to open up a substantial 32-14 halftime lead.
Manistee tried to make a run at the Spartans in the second half, almost matching them basket-for-basket at one point, but they couldn’t make up the ground and trailed, 57-28 after three.
Following Chye in the scoring column for the Spartans was Jayden Perrone with 14 points while Jack VanderHaag contributed six.
Kenn Kott was the Chippewas’ leading scorer with 14 points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers, and Tramel Caviness and Ben Schlaff scored six points each.
Mason County Central opens play in the West Michigan Conference Rivers Division on Friday night at North Muskegon.
The Chippewas tip-off the West Michigan Conference Lakes Division schedule Friday night with a home game against Oakridge.