Quincy Oriole boys basketball defeats Bronson Vikings in Big 8 play – Coldwater Daily Reporter

QUINCY, MI. — Thursday night the “Coolest Gym in Michigan” played host to a Branch County basketball battle, as it was the Quincy Orioles hosting the Bronson Vikings for a key Big 8 conference tilt.
After implementing a solid game plan on both ends of the floor the Quincy Orioles took care of business from the free throw late, holding off a late Bronson charge to take the 45-41 victory.
“Bronson is a great offensive team, you know they can score it and they can and will make runs on you,” said Quincy head coach Scott Rodesiler. “They are such a tough team offensively so we came in to the game with a solid defensive game plan to try and limit them and we executed it pretty well. We made things not always super easy on them and I really think the defensive intensity was there for us for all four quarters. We played pretty hard for four quarters and kept our poise even when Bronson made their comeback, which is something we’ve struggled with over the past few seasons. We didn’t just whither away and take the moral victory of keeping it close, we kept our heads and executed and got a big win.”
Quincy controlled things from the start, using their size advantage down in the post to open up an early 7-1 advantage four minutes into the game. Bronson’s dynamic offense was kept quiet for a good portion of the first quarter until buckets from Kam Brackett and Aden Hathaway closed the score to 9-5 after one quarter of play.
Four quick points from Brackett out of the quarter break tied the score up at 9-9 just a minute into the second period and Bronson had a chance to take their first lead of the game at the 6:30 mark but a pair of Ashtyn Morris blocks down low kept the score all knotted up.
Quincy stayed patient on their offensive possessions, using the inside play of Morris and Nash Fitton along with the shooting of Sam Sawyer and Riley Minor to begin opening up a modest lead. A five point spurt by Sawyer, which included a triple and a drive and bucket, extended the Orioles lead to 20-11, the largest of the game up to that point, with 1:30 left in the quarter, leading to a Bronson timeout.
Sawyer continued his solid play on the next offensive possession for the Orioles, keeping the ball alive with hustle and grit, eventually leading to an assist to Miner who buried a three pointer with less than a minute to go, pushing the lead to double digits at 23-13 heading into the half.
Scoring was at a premium to begin the third quarter as the score stayed at 23-13 for the first two minutes until the Bronson offense started to show some life. An inside bucket by Saylor Wotta followed by a three ball from Hathaway rattled off a 5-0 run for the Vikings, closing the score to 23-18 at the six minute mark.
After Quincy answered with an inside bucket from Morris the Vikings rattled off another 4-0 spurt thanks to a pair of buckets from Hathaway, closing the score to 25-22 and forcing an Orioles timeout with just under five minutes left in the third.
After a defensive stop for Bronson it was Boston Bucklin scoring a tough transition bucket, closing the score to just a single point at 25-24 with four minutes left in the third.
Quincy regained their footing thanks to an inside layup from Ryan Kempter followed by a free throw from Nash Fitton, pushing the lead to 28-23 with just over two minutes left. Just over a minute later it was Sawyer dialing up long distance, sinking a three pointer from the top of the key, giving the Orioles a 31-24 lead after three quarters of play.
Bronson refused to go quietly into the night however, rattling off another 4-0 run to start the fourth quarter, closing the score to 31-28 with just over six minutes left in the game. Quincy was able to slow down the run with a pair of Riley Miner free throws, giving the Orioles a 33-28 lead with 5:50 left in the game.
The teams traded buckets as the midway point of the final quarter came and went until a Brackett steal and lay up in the open court closed the score to 35-33 with just over three minutes left in the game.
Quincy extended their lead to 37-33 with two more Miner free throws at the 2:40 mark, only to see Brackett find Wotta with a smooth pass into the paint for a big two points, closing the score to 37-35 with 2:15 left in the game, leading to a Quincy timeout.
After a Sawyer free throw pushed the Orioles lead to 38-35 with two minutes left in the game, a Wotta free throw on the other end less than a minute later closed the score to 38-36 with 1:06 left in the contest.
Bronson fouled Miner on the inbound, sending the senior to the free throw line for a big 1-and-1 with a minute left in the game. For the first time all game Miner missed the free throw, leading to a huge possession for the Vikings. On the next trip down it was Hathaway driving baseline and hitting a smooth 15 foot jumper with :45 seconds left, knotting the game up at 38-38.
On the ensuing possession Sawyer was fouled as his defender went for the steal in the backcourt, sending the senior to the free throw line looking to break the tie. Sawyer delivered, hitting both free throws to retake the lead at 40-38 with 36.7 seconds left on the clock.
Bronson could not find the bucket on the other end of the floor and Miner was fouled on the rebound, once again sending the Oriole co-captain to the line for two. Miner hit one of two, pushing the lead to 41-38. Bronson was unable to find the bucket again on the other end, once again sending Miner to the free throw line on the rebound. This time Miner did not miss, burying both free throws to extend his teams lead to 43-38 with just 13.6 seconds left on the clock.
Bronson wasn’t done just yet and as Quincy’s head coach Scott Rodesiler said in his post game interview, “Until that final buzzer sounds you worry about them hitting a big bucket and breaking you heart, because that’s what they can do.” And that’s just what they did as Hathaway buried a huge three pointer with just :08 seconds left, closing the score to 43-41.
Miner was fouled again on the inbound play and once again, with pure ice in his veins, he sank both shots, pushing the Orioles lead to 45-41 with 6.9 seconds left. The ensuing inbound pass was intercepted by Tre’Von Bodley who ran out the clock, giving the Orioles the huge 45-41 victory.
Quincy was led on the night by Riley Miner who came up huge in the closing moments, hitting on 9 of 11 free throws, all in the fourth quarter, on his way to scoring 12 points in the game. Miner also added for rebounds and one assist in the win.
Big man Ashtyn Morris recorded a key double-double to help the Orioles in victory, scoring 13 points to go with 15 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Senior point guard Sam Sawyer had a tremendous all-around outing, also recording a double-double after scoring 13 points to go with 11 rebounds and five assists.
Adding to the Quincy victory was Ryan Kempter with two points, two rebounds and one assist; Tre’Von Bodley with four rebounds, one assist and one steal; Brandon Miner with two points, one rebound and one steal; Corey Turner with three rebounds, one steal and one assist; and Nash Fitton with three points and four rebounds.
“Our effort late was huge, pretty lights out especially from the free throw line late,” said Rodesiler. “Those free throws allowed us to stay just enough ahead of Bronson to hold them off. Being down two starters we are really trying to find a groove so that’s a really nice win for us.”
With the victory Quincy improves to 6-3 overall on the season and 2-2 in the Big 8 conference. The Orioles will see action again next Thursday when they host Springport.
Bronson only had one player reach double figures as senior Aden Hathaway led all scorers with 21 points. Also adding to the Bronson effort was Kamron Brackett who chipped in eight points while Saylor Wotta recorded seven points and Boston Bucklin added five points.
“Right now our execution is inconsistent at best, our effort is inconsistent at best, and when you are struggling with that you aren’t going to beat a lot of teams,” said Bronson head coach Damien Loveless. “In the end we reap what we put into it really, we just need to make a decision to put in the effort needed to win games against solid teams like this. At times it just seems like the effort is not there and it seemed like there was no trust at all on the basketball court. When we do what we do well we look good doing it, just right now we have some decisions to make and we need to figure out how to play consistent basketball for 32 minutes. Hopefully we can figure that out quick and come back and be better.”
With the loss Bronson falls to 3-5 overall on the season and 1-3 in the Big 8 conference. Bronson will see action again in a rare Saturday game as they travel to Jackson to face off with the Lumen Christi Titans in a non-conference battle, beginning at 3 p.m.

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