AGS defeat Posen in season opener
POSEN — As the clock wound down on AuGres-Sims' season-opening 69-42 victory at Posen on Thursday, the joke on the Wolverines' bench was that no one knew what to do with their hands. Last year, those hands usually were used to cover the Wolverines' faces as the big losses piled up.
There was no hiding the Wolverines' smiles, though, after earning a North Star League victory on the road despite snow preventing them from even getting to practice the previous two days. AGS overcame the lack of practice, early foul trouble and the usual first-game mistakes to match last year's season-high and points and their second-best defensive performance in just their first game.
"We played hard," said AGS coach Gordie Ostrander. "The intensity was there, which says a lot without having practiced. We overcame a lot, played unselfish basketball and played hard."
The Wolverines used a pair of runs -- a 19-6 burst to finish the first half, and a 14-3 run in the third and fourth quarters -- to break the game open.
Chad Taylor hit a pair of 3-pointers and Travis Byard and Nate Jennings dominated the offensive glass to combine for eight more points in the second quarter as AGS broke away from a 14-14 tie to take a 33-20 halftime lead. Kyle Gingerich's triple early in the third quarter put the Wolverines up 38-22, but Posen answered with a run of its own, powered primarily by Brandon Hentkowski, to get back to within 40-30.
Posen had its chance to cut further into the lead as the Wolverines turned the ball over in the backcourt on three consecutive possessions. But in each case, Jennings was there to either block or intimidate the Vikings into an altered shot.
"We made some mistakes, but we didn't give up on the play when we did," Ostrander said. "The effort is there. The potential is there, but when we win it's going to be because of our effort."
Nathan Trapp then answered with back-to-back baseline jumpers and Taylor ended the third quarter with a hoop to build it back up to 48-31.
Byard finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, Taylor had 16 points and four assists, Alex Lutz had 13 points, nine steals and five assists, Gingerich had seven points and five assists and Jennings finished with 14 rebounds, three blocks.
"Kyle really had a nice game," Ostrander said. "He played some great defense and he really moved the ball well. It doesn't really show up in the stats but those are the kinds of games we need kids playing to win."
Hentkowski finished with 19 points, with Scott Couture adding 10 for the Vikings (0-2, 0-1).
AGS (1-0, 1-0 NSL) has a quick turnaround as the Wolverines play host to Alcona in a snow make-up contest, with the JV game beginning Friday at 3:30 followed by the varsity boys, which in turn will be followed by the JV and varsity girls contests with Posen.