By Greg Gielczyk

MANISTEE — A long season continued for the winless Manistee boys’ basketball team Tuesday night,
Montague dealt the Chippewas a 67-35 home loss in the West Michigan Conference Rivers Division.
The Chippewas led only twice in the game and that came early in the first quarter before the Wildcats quickly took charge and soon left no doubt as to the outcome.
After showing marked improvement in games against Ludington and Ravenna in its last two games, Manistee faltered and regressed against the Wildcats.
“Last week against Ludington and Ravenna, I really thought we were getting better and that’s what I preached to the kids in practice,” Manistee coach Zach Bialik said. “We had a lead against Ravenna, but couldn’t finish it out and held a Ludington team that’s going to win a lot of ball games to a low score.
“So, we did some good things, even though we didn’t get the ‘W’s’,” he said. “I told the kids in the locker room that tonight I think we took a step back. We can’t afford many more steps back, that’s for sure.”
Manistee couldn’t find its offense against the Wildcats and trailed all the way after leading 4-2.
After trailing by 11, 19-8 after the first period the Chippewas were outscored, 17-6, in the second and went into the locker room at halftime down, 36-14.
In the third quarter, Montague finished with a two-point advantage, 14-12, and had a 50-26 lead to take into the fourth quarter.
“We made some improvements from last week to this week, good conference win on the road,” said Montague coach David Osborne.
Braeden Johnston scored 14 points to lead three players in double figures for the Wildcats. Owen Raeth tossed in 13 and Paul Olson chipped in 10. Johnston led Montague with 13 rebounds while Isaiah Atchison hauled down eight rebounds. Rodney Brassfield grabbed seven boards.
Montague outrebounded Manistee 53-32w. Both teams shot poorly from the free throw line. The Wildcats went 6-for-15 and Manistee made just 4-of-16 from the charity stripe.
Ethan Edmondson led the Chippewas in scoring with seven points, while Ben Schlaff contributed six and Jacob Scharpe added five.
“A lot of their points came off offensive rebounds,” Bialik said. “They crushed us on the boards. I told the kids that we can’t give up extra possessions. We’re not efficient enough to give up that many extra tries when we’re trying to take care of our own business.”
Montague (5-5, 3-2 WMC Lakes) hosts Oakridge in a conference game Friday night.
Manistee (0-9, 0-4 WMC Lakes) travels to Fremont for a conference game Friday night.