The Kalamazoo Christian Comets and Quincy Orioles will meet in the Regional 17 boys basketball final on Wednesday following tight victories Monday night at Bangor High School. The Comets needed a bucket as regulation ended to force overtime and eventually defeat the Schoolcraft Eagles, 53-47. The Orioles traded the lead nine times with the Cassopolis Rangers, but held it at the end with a 64-60 final.
Kalamazoo Christian led for almost the entire first half, although their lead was never bigger than six points. Schoolcraft had a very brief one-point second quarter lead and put the score at 25-23 Comets into halftime. The Eagles had a 31-30 lead by the end of the third and remained ahead throughout almost all of the fourth quarter. The Comets erased a six-point hole in the final 1:27 to force overtime. With four seconds remaining down two, Kalamazoo Christian inbounded to Jordan Katje under the basket for the bucket to force OT.
Overtime began with a three-pointer, followed by a basket-and-one from Alex Visser to put Kalamazoo Christian ahead for good. Schoolcraft made it back within two in the final minute, but the Comets finished strong at the free throw line to avenge their two regular season losses to Schoolcraft earlier this season. Kalamazoo Christian finished 11-14 at the foul line, including a perfect 7-7 from Drew Scheffers, with the Eagles 7-15 by comparison. Visser led all players with 18 points, followed by 12 from Scheffers and 10 by Katje. Schoolcraft senior Caleb Eustice scored 16 in his final game. The Eagles end the year at 22-2 with Kalamazoo Christian improving to 17-7.
In the other game, the first quarter saw five lead changes with neither team leading by more than four. Cassopolis led 16-14 after one and never trailed in the second quarter. The Ranger lead got as big as nine, but Quincy was able to tie it up just before the break for a 27-27 score at halftime.
After four more lead changes, the Orioles ended the third quarter ahead, 41-40, then started the fourth on a 6-0 run. Cassopolis tied the game back briefly, but Quincy remained on top for much of the fourth quarter. With 17 seconds remaining, the Rangers had the ball trailing 62-60 and a chance to tie or win. Tyrese Hunt-Thompson’s shot try missed and Nathan Karney grabbed the board with six seconds remaining, securing the win after making both of his free throws.
Karney finished with 16, going 8-10 at the foul line. Freshman William Dunn topped the Orioles with 19. Sophomore Hunt-Thompson topped Cassopolis and all players with 21 points, followed by senior Shane Los’s 17. The Rangers finish at 18-5 with Quincy improving to 20-4.
The Regional final is now set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. from Bangor and can be heard live on Michigan Sports Radio. Quincy has never gone beyond the regional round, most recently losing in the 2009 final to Schoolcraft. The last time Kalamazoo Christian made it through the regional final was the 2008 season, which ended with a state championship.
Listen back to Monday’s games below
KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN VS SCHOOLCRAFT
QUINCY VS CASSOPOLIS