By: Daniel Stickradt
BOYS BASKETBALL: Powers North Central wins third straight Class D title
BY DAN STICKRADT
EAST LANSING — Already in record-setting mode, top-ranked Powers North Central added to its legacy Saturday morning at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.
The Jets quickly blasted off in their battle of unbeatens showdown with Buckley, converting their first 14 field goal attempts, finishing 15-for-18 from the floor and building a 38-20 lead after the first quarter.
Powers North Central ended up extending its national active winning streak to 83 games — a Michigan all-time record — with a 78-69 over No. 4 Buckley.
The Jets have clearly redefined the term — U.P. Power — with their unprecedented run in Michigan basketball lore.
“We’re a team. And that’s where a lot of teams lack, is the team part,” said senior guard Bobby Kleiman. “They have individuals, but us, we’re family. We love each other. And this whole ride has just been crazy, and we’ll never forget it.”
Buckley cut it to 68-65 on Ridge Beeman’s basket with 2:41 to play, as part of a 13-3 run. North Central answered with a 10-4 spurt to close the game.
North Central coach Adam Mercier said that his team’s start was crucial, but added when push came to shove, his Jets pulled together in the waning moments.
“If we score 38 points in a quarter, typically teams kinda roll over,” noted Mercier. “That didn’t happen today, and that’s a credit to those Buckley kids. We had to fight tooth and nail with them in the fourth quarter. I was just so proud of our kids, the way they finished this game.”
Dawson Bliski powered four Jets in double figures with 25 points. Jason Whitens added 23 points and six rebounds, Kleiman scored 12 and Marcus Krachinski contributed 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Jets.
North Central shot 61.9 percent form the floor (26-for-42)
“It’s amazing, when you think about it, everything that they have accomplished,” added Mercier. “This all something that they will remember for a lifetime.”
Denver Cade finished with 25 points and
seven rebounds for Buckley. Austin Harris added 22 points and nine rebounds, while Joey Weber followed with 15 points and seven rebounds.