Ocelots ride four game winning streak; now 6-1

By Nick Misiak
Sports Editor

With only seven games into the season, the Mens Basketball team continues to exhibit its untamed, talented roster. This time it came against Glen Oaks Community College on Nov. 22 in a blowout turned, nail-biter performance. Freshman guard Ronald Booth made 15 of 16 free throws and freshman forward Marcus Williams came one rebound shy of a double-double when Schoolcraft defeated Glen Oaks Community College 95- 85.

Following a trend that is too familiar early this season, Schoolcraft again took a large lead in the first half and backed off of their aggressive style in the second, allowing Glen Oaks to rally from a 25 point deficit to within six points of the Ocelots in just over ten minutes.

The first half was largely dominated by the Ocelots, who committed only five turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play. Freshman forward Marcus Williams had 14 points, and freshman guard DeShawndre Black, who made his season debut, put up 10 points in the first half. Freshman forward Anthony Wartley-Fritz added eight points off the bench in 12 minutes as well, which helped the Ocelots take a 50-36 lead into the half.

The Ocelots seemed to have the game under control with 11:54 to play in the second half after Ja’Christian Biles bedazzled the crowd with a spectacular dunk on a fast break to widen the Schoolcraft lead to 74-49, but Glen Oaks had some fire left in their game. The Vikings erupted offensively, taking advantage of sloppy Ocelot turnovers and lackadaisical defense to mount a 19-3 run, closing the gap to 81-71. Schoolcraft’s lead was cut to six points (88-82) with just under a minute remaining, but Booth made four consecutive free throws to seal the victory for the Ocelots, who improved to 8-1.

“I thought we were terrific for 32 minutes, we played very well, and we played hard,” said Schoolcraft Head Coach Abe Mashhour. “They need to understand that at this level, guys can make plays. Every guy on the other team’s a good basketball player. That’s why they’re playing at this level.”

Booth had 23 points to lead the Ocelots, and Williams scored 19 points and added nine boards. Biles had 15 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench to lead the non-starters.

“We could have played better, and we should have won by more,” said Booth. “I was feeling it at the line, and luckily, they kept fouling me, and I kept making my shots.”

Booth scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half bogged down by late fouls. Glen Oaks had 17 personal fouls in the second half, sending the Ocelots to the free throw line 26 times. Schoolcraft converted on 20 of those attempts.

So far this season, the second half of games have been an achilles heel for an otherwise impressive Schoolcraft team. In their earlier wins against Jackson Community College and Lake Michigan, the Ocelots opened the games with sizeable leads and proceeded to slowly let the opponent back into the game, much like the events against Glen Oaks.

“It’s what having freshmen’s all about,” said Mashhour. “Obviously, we’re a very young team, so it takes some learning for them to understand they have to close out games a lot better.”

Freshman guard Christopher Harris led Glen Oaks with 23 points. Sophomore guard Aundreyan Roberts also scored 20 for the Vikings, who fell to 4-1 after the loss.

Ocelots survive scare

Clutch free throw shooting late in the second half by freshman guard Ronald Booth clinched an 85-81 Schoolcraft victory over Lake Michigan in Benton Harbor on Nov. 19.

After shooting 64 percent and taking a 55-34 lead in the first half, the Ocelots struggled to find their rhythm in the second, shooting only 36 percent and almost giving up their 21 point advantage. Lake Michigan pulled to within two points with only 1:44 remaining in the game, but was unable to make shots that would have tied the game or given them the lead.

The Red Hawks began fouling Schoolcraft in the final minute, but Booth made all four of his free throw attempts to ice the game for the Ocelots.

Booth went 6-6 from the stripe in his 23-point performance and shot 7-12 from the floor, including going 3-4 from three-point range. Freshman forward Marcus Williams went 5-8 from behind the arc and made nine of his 12 field goal attempts to lead the Ocelots with 24 points. Williams also led Schoolcraft in rebounding, recording seven boards.

Sophomore forward Labradford Sebree led Lake Michigan with 24 points and sophomore guard Alec Brown added 23 points for the Red Hawks, who dropped to 3-2 after the loss.

The Ocelots are on the road on Dec. 10 at Jackson College and return home to face Edison Community College on Sat. Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.