The Saginaw Nouvel CC (13-9) boys basketball team fought off a late third quarter charge by Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary (10-13) for a 54-48 MHSAA Class-C district championship victory over the Cardinals on the campus of Valley Lutheran high school tonight.
Nouvel shut down MLS with a suffocating defense, snatching 12-team steals en route to its second straight district championship.
MLS senior's Adam Arrowsmith and Nathan Spaude led the Cardinals with 4-points apiece respectively in the opening quarter.
Nouvel would build its biggest lead of the game in the second quarter on the back of Panther junior workhorse Chris Lemanek, who led NCC with 10-second quarter points, all while having to battle down low for every point, against the (much larger) MLS big men for a 32-11 Panther lead heading into halftime.
Spaude led Seminary with 7-points in the second frame, while MLS senior's Cade Kestner and Noah Nordie each added 2-points apiece respectively for the Cardinals.
MLS, however, was not ready to rollover, as it came out of the half, out-scoring Nouvel 18-12 in the third quarter, led by sophomore Aarron Alcorn's 6-points, along with 5-points from Spaude, while whittling the Panther lead down to 5-points (44-37) heading into the fourth quarter.
NCC junior Josh Kuligowski scored 4-points to lead Nouvel in the third, while also getting 2-points apiece from Snyder, NCC junior T.J. Raedy, and senior Tate Hausbeck respectively.
Seminary managed to out-score Nouvel again in the fourth quarter (11-10) but it wasn't enough, as Raedy had back-to-back steals, which led to an easy layup, followed by a pair of made free throws with just over 2-minutes left, leading the Panthers with 4-fourth quarter points, while NCC junior Micheal Ehlman converted an and-one for 3-points to help secure the win for Nouvel in the final quarter.
Spaude led Seminary with a double-double, dropping 12-points, 11-rebounds, and 1-block, followed by Alcorn with 8-points, 4-rebounds, 3-assists, and 1-steal, while MLS junior Brody Eastin and Kestner each finished with 7-points apiece respectively for the Cardinals.
Noah Nordie finished with 6-points, 3-rebounds, and 1-assist for Seminary, followed by Arrowsmith, who had 4-points, 2-rebounds, and 1-block, while Nordie's younger brother Max Nordie and junior Sean McCloskey each chipped in with 2-points apiece respectively, rounding out the MLS scoring.
Snyder's second consecutive double-double paced the Panthers, scoring 12-points, 12-rebounds, 1-assist, and 1-block, while Lemanek led all scorers with 13-points, 3-rebounds, 1-assist, and 2-steals, followed by Raedy with 9-points, 2-rebounds, 1-assist, 4-steals, and 1-block for Nouvel.
Hausbeck finished with 8-points, 6-rebounds, 4-assists, and 3-steals for the Panthers, followed by Kuligowski with 7-points, 1-rebound, 1-assist, and 2-steals, while Ehlman, added 3-points, 3-rebounds, 2-assists, and 1-steal, along with sophomore Sam Buckingham, who would round out the NCC scoring with 2-points, 5-rebounds, 1-assist, and 1-steal.
Nouvel CC advances to the MHSAA Class-C (region-20) regional for a difficult matchup with an undefeated No. 9 ranked Unionville-Sebawaing H.S. team Mar. 12, at Burton Atherton high school in Burton, MI Monday night.
USA (23-0) moved on following a 68-40 MHSAA Class-C district championship victory over Harbor Beach H.S. at the Bad Axe high school gym in Bad Axe, MI earlier tonight.
Nouvel and MLS warming up prior to the start of the 2018 MHSAA Class C district championship game: