The Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants topped the Battle Creek Central Bearcats in both boys and girls basketball Tuesday night, winning on their home floor 57-48 in boys play and 76-22 in girls play. The boys contest stayed tight throughout with the Bearcats holding an 8-6 advantage after the first quarter. K-Central started the second quarter on an 8-0 run, but a 13-3 finish from BCC put the Bearcats back up at the half, 21-17.
The third quarter saw five lead changes with the Maroon Giants leading after the third quarter, 40-34. Neither team led by more than six until the fourth quarter, where K-Central finally started to pull away, in part due to free throw success. They went 25-34 at the stripe, while the Bearcats were only 5-10. The game did end with some jawing and bad blood and although a number of students ran onto the court after the game, no punches appeared to be thrown.
Isaiah Livers led K-Central with 21 points. The future Michigan Wolvervine was also 9-13 at the free throw line, including a 6-6 run at the end. Joshua Mann topped BCC with 14 points. The win puts K-Central at 14-1 overall and at 8-0 in the SMAC East Division, securing the division title. Next up for them is Gull Lake at home Friday. The Bearcats drop to 13-3 overall and host Mattawan Friday.
Meanwhile, as expected by the records, the girls game was never in doubt, with a 76-22 final in favor of Kalamazoo Central. They improve to 12-3 with the Bearcats dropping to 2-15. BCC actually had the top scoring player in Tamera Gills, who scored 13 points. 12 players had a bucket K-Central, led by 11 from Anasia Harris.
Listen back to both contests below:
Listen live Tuesday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to boys and girls basketball as the Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants host the Battle Creek Central Bearcats. In the boys contest, the Maroon Giants enter at 13-1 with a six-game winning streak since their lone loss one month ago to Detroit East English. Last week’s Associated Press poll placed K-Central fifth best in Class A.
The Bearcats are 13-2 with their first loss coming when they hosted K-Central on December 9, falling 67-55. Their only other blemish was last month at Benton Harbor and since then, they’ve won seven straight.
Tuesday’s contest could also determine the champion of the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC) East Division. At 7-0 in conference play, the Maroon Giants would lock up the title with a victory. The Bearcats are 5-1 and must win to stay in the running. Since renewing their series two seasons ago, the Maroon Giants are 5-0 versus the Bearcats. The last victory by the Bearcats against K-Central was on January 10, 2008.
The K-Central girls have had similar success against Battle Creek Central, winning the last five meetings. Apart from a forfeit victory due to K-Central’s use of an ineligible player in 2013, the Bearcats haven’t won in girls basketball over K-Central since 2011. It would be a monumental upset, as the Bearcats sit at 2-14 against the 11-3 Maroon Giants. K-Central won the earlier meeting this season, 80-42.
Listen to both boys and girls play Tuesday live on the Slocum Sports Network. The girls are scheduled for 5:45 p.m. with the boys at 7 p.m.