Patient Cougars beat Engadine 66-51 for 3rd district title in 4 years

MUNISING – The Superior Central boys were in no particular hurry Friday night.

The reward for their patience was a 66-51 basketball triumph over the Engadine Eagles for their third Class D district title in four years.

The victory sends the Cougars (16-7) to the regional tournament at Negaunee, where they’ll face North Central (20-3) at 6 p.m. Monday,

In Friday’s contest, the Cougars employed a half-court offense, a variation from their usual uptempo game.

“The half-court game kind of just happened tonight because we weren’t able to get any fast breaks,” said senior center Bryce Richard, who led the Cougars with 20 points. “We moved the ball around faster tonight and it worked out.”

The Cougars led 34-25 at halftime before Engadine opened the third stanza with an 8-2 run, pulling within 36-33 on a lay-in by junior Jake Dishaw with 4:32 left in the period.

“We felt we were still in control of the game,” Richard said. “We just had to get back to what we were doing before.”

The Cougars responded with a 12-3 run, gaining a 48-36 advantage on senior guard Trevor Maki’s jump shot from the lane and free throw with two seconds remaining in the third quarter.

“We felt we had a little momentum, then (SC) bumped it (the lead) to 12 points,” Engadine coach Elmer Albright said. “It’s hard to make up 12 points against that team. They’re so big and athletic.”

Foul trouble compounded Engadine’s problems as its leading scorer, senior forward Jeff Bomber, picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter and fouled out with 5:42 left in the contest.

Engadine gained its only lead at 7-6 midway through the opening frame on a putback by junior forward Tanner Flatt. The Cougars then regained the lead on Maki’s 19-foot jumper from the left wing.

“I think we had little bit of a hangover from Wednesday (a 41-36 victory over Munising),” Cougars’ coach Herb Jenkins said.

Maki finished with 19 points and senior forward Matt Verbrigghe added 16 for the Cougars.

“Our big guys played well tonight,” Jenkins said. “Matt did a fine job for us. When they got within three, we had to decide if we were not going to lose the game or win the game.

“We put the ball in Trevor’s hands and it worked for us.”

Bomber finished with 16 points and junior guard Forrest McArthur had 10 for the Eagles.