NEW LOTHROP — A goal deferred proved no less satisfying when the Ovid-Elsie boys basketball team reached it.
After hoping to clinch the outright Mid-Michigan Activities Conference title Tuesday — only to lose 64-63 at Chesaning — the Marauders led from start to finish in downing New Lothrop 48-28 Thursday to win the league’s inaugural championship.
“It’s a relief,” said Marauders junior Shayne Loynes, who had a game-high 19 points. “The Chesaning game took a toll on us for a little bit. We let it slip through our fingers. We weren’t really focused enough to win that game. But this win, against New Lothrop, which is a good team, is nice.”
New Lothrop (15-5 overall, 10-4 MMAC) could have forged a tie for first with a victory. But coach Brady Simons, whose team got off to a delayed start this season due to most of his roster being on the Division 7 state championship football team, was proud of what his players accomplished.
“We were 15-5, we won a lot of big games, and in Game 20 we had a chance to be co-champions,” he said. “They put themselves in that position, and they earned it.”
For the Marauders, it was their second league title in a row, having won the Tri-Valley Conference West Division last season.
“With that tradition we set last year, it’s one of the things we expect now,” Ovid-Elsie coach Josh Latz said. “It’s our expectation to play for league championships. Whether or not we get them, we’re trying to play for them, and we’re happy to have that opportunity.”
Given a second chance to clinch, the Marauders didn’t waste any time, leading from the onset despite a Hornets zone designed to slow the fast-paced Ovid-Elsie offense down.
“They’re a really good basketball team,” Latz said. “They made it tough for us to score. We hit a few shots that kind of stretched the defense and got us out in front a little bit.”
New Lothrop, meanwhile, struggled on offense, trailing 7-2 after the first quarter and 19-6 at halftime.
Loynes held New Lothrop’s leading scorer, Kollin Lienau, to just four points.
“It was a rough shooting night for us,” New Lothrop junior Avery Moore said. “They have a good shooting team and they shot the ball very well.”
The Hornets made a bid in the third quarter, but could only get within 27-17.
In the fourth, Ovid-Elsie pulled away by hitting more shots and going to the free-throw line as New Lothrop fouled to stop the clock.
The Marauders led by 23 before New Lothrop reserve Robert Beaucamp drained a 3-pointer in the final seconds, much to the delight of the Hornets student section.
The game marked the end of the regular season for New Lothrop, which will take a day off before preparing for St. Louis in the first round of districts on Monday.
The Marauders, meanwhile, have their senior night tonight against Webberville in the second game of a doubleheader following the girls game with New Lothrop.
“We want to get better every single time we play,” said senior Liam Thompson, who had 15 points for Ovid-Elsie. “We’re going to go out there and put forth our best effort and get better for Monday.”
Jacob Graves led New Lothrop with eight points.
NOTES: The game was a Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser, with a local insurance agency footing the bill for special uniforms for both teams. Each jersey — a dark purple for Ovid-Elsie, a lighter shade for New Lothrop — had the team’s logo with the player’s number and the names of cancer victims on the back. The event raised more than $2,000 for the American Cancer Society.
OVID-ELSIE 48, NEW LOTHROP 28
OVID-ELSIE (17-2, 12-2 MMAC): Shayne Loynes 5 6-6 19; Fisher Houska 0 2-2 2; Jakob Loynes 1 0-0 2; Sean Witt 1 1-2 4; Justin Moore 0 1-2 1; Angelino Ramos 0 2-2 2; Liam Thompson 36 3-6 15; Jacob Chrenka 0 1-2 1; Weston Kvalevog 1 0-0 2. Totals: 14 16-22 48.
NEW LOTHROP (15-5, 10-4): Avery Moore 3 0-0 6; Jacob Graves 3 0–0 8; Dylan Shaydik 3 0-0 7; Kollin Lienau 1 2-2 4; Robert Beaucamp 1 0-0 3. Totals: 11 2-4 28.
Ovid-Elsie 7 12 8 21 — 48
New Lothrop 2 6 11 11 — 28
3-Point Goals: Ovid-Elsie 4 (S.Loynes 3, J.Loynes), New Lothrop 4 (Graves 2, Shaydik, Beaucamp). Rebounds: Ovid-Elsie 29 (J.Moore 7), New Lothrop 22. Total Fouls (Fouled out): New Lothrop 14, Ovid-Elsie 8. Assists: Ovid-Elsie 11 (J.Loynes 3), New Lothrop 10. Steals: Ovid-Elsie 5 (Witt, Ramos, Thompson, Cayleb Carman, Kvalevog), New Lothrop 3. Blocked Shots: Ovid-Elsie 1 (Kvalevog), New Lothrop 1.