Bay City, MI:
The Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central boys basketball team opened the 2019 Michigan High School Athletic Association division-4 district tournament with a convincing 75-26 victory over Merrill High School inside the Bay City All Saints HS gym at St. Hyacinth Church in Bay City, MI tonight.
A stingy Panther defense combined with a 9-point first quarter effort from NCC sophomore guard Devin Smith, along with 4-points apiece from Josh Kuligowski, Chris Lemanek, and Harry Dwan would give Nouvel a 24-3 lead after one quarter of play.
Nouvel senior point guard Michael Ehlman picked up where Smith had left off, dropping 15-points in the second quarter, while Merrill junior Michael Buckley (7-points) and senior Montana Glazier (8-points) combined for 15-second quarter points, each hitting a pair of three-pointers to keep the Vandals in the game, however, the NCC juggernaut would not subside, growing instead with a 49-20 lead heading into halftime.
The Panthers would go into a ball control offense coming out of the half, spreading the scoring around with Ehlman, Smith, and sophomore Zaiden Mitchell each hitting one three-pointer in the third quarter respectively, while simultaneously cranking up the defense to hold the Vandals to just 3-third quarter points for a 65-23 lead after three quarters.
NCC junior Luke Losa came off the bench to lead the Panthers with 4-points in the fourth quarter, while the defense once again held Merrill to just 3-fourth quarter points, running out the clock and moving on to the MHSAA division-4 district semi-finals with a 75-26 win.
Glazier led the Vandals with 13-points, 4-rebounds, and 1-block, followed by Buckley, who finished with 10-points, 1-rebound, and 1-block, while sophomore Logan Heath added 2-points with 4-rebounds, and 1-steal; along with 1-point and 1-rebound from Merrill senior Billy Vance.
Ehlman led all scorers with 21-points, 3-rebounds, 5-assists, and 5-steals, followed by Smith, who filled up the stat sheet with 12-points, 3-rebounds, 6-assists, 2-steals, and 1-block, while Losa finished with 9-points, 4-rebounds, and 1-assist; along with 7-points, 2-rebounds, 2-assists, and 1-steal from Kuligowski.
Nouvel senior Sam Buckingham finished with 6-points, 3-rebounds, 1-assist, and 3-blocks, followed by Dwan, who also had 6-points to go with 3-rebounds, 1-assist, and 1-steal, while Lemanek finished with 5-points, 4-rebounds, 3-assists, and 1-steal; along with 5-points, 1-rebound, and 1-assist from Mitchell, as NCC senior Jonah Wright and junior Jack LeBourdais each finished with 2-points apiece respectively to round out the scoring.
In the other half of the MHSAA division-4 district, Fulton HS knocked off Ashley HS with a 71-30 victory, advancing to take on district host Bay City All Saints (who had drawn a first round bye) at 7:30 pm in one semi-final this Wednesday night, while the Panthers will meet Michigan Lutheran Seminary (who also drew a first round bye) in the other semi-final at 6 pm right back here inside the All Saints gym on Wednesday night.
The two winners from Wednesday night will advance to the 2019 MHSAA division-4 district championship game for a 7 pm tip off at the All Saints gym on Friday night.