Orchard Lake St. Mary’s run toward its first state final four since 2006 was halted by Bay City Western, 60-49, in a Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Class A quarter-final at Davison High School on Tuesday, March 22.
The loss ended what was a memorable playoff run by the Eaglets (15-10), who overcame injuries leftover from football season and a difficult Catholic League schedule to win their first regional title since 2008.
However, Bay City Western (24-3) came into last Tuesday’s game having lost only two games all season and were stacked with talent and height, with four of their starters standing at least 6-foot-4.
“We knew we had to speed up the game to offset their style and we did a good job in the first half. But they’re pretty tough to stop,” St. Mary’s Head Coach George Porritt said.
St. Mary’s hung tough, leading 12-11 after the first quarter before Western came back to knot the score at 20 at halftime.
However, Western took over in the third quarter behind the efforts of its 6-foot-9, Michigan State-bound senior Matt Costello, who scored 7 straight points to start the quarter.
“Those two, three minutes were key because we didn’t punch back,” Porritt said.
Costello finished with 16 points in the third quarter as Western’s 27-14 third quarter run put the score at 47-34.
St. Mary’s outscored Western 15-13 in the final stanza but it was not enough in the end, as Western advanced to the Class A state semi-finals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, where they would fall to the eventual Class A runner-up, Detroit Southeastern.
Kalamazoo Central ended up winning its second-straight Class A state title.
Eaglets’ senior Allen Robinson finished with 20 points in his final game, while Shaun Covington followed with 11 points.
Against St. Mary’s, Costello finished with 31 points while Brandon Hanvercamp followed with 11.
St. Mary’s will not only graduate Robinson, but also Covington, Corey Lucas, Thomas Sellers and Darrell Freeman.
“I thought it was a tremendous finish to the season. It was a struggle in a tough league, but when we started at 0-0 in the playoffs, it put a new lease on life,” Porritt said. “We got beat by a great team.”