Carson City-Crystal at Fulton – – Boys Basketball – – Battle of M-57 – – The Bleacher Denizen – – February 5, 2022 – – by Chuck Krafft

I have heard a rumor that Carson City-Crystal and Fulton are going to battle. When I investigated further, I learned that this will be no tanks firing anti-aircraft missiles, no trenches being dug; there won’t even be a water balloon fight! This battle is an annual event where the Fulton Pirates and the Carson City-Crystal Eagles play basketball to raise money for a non-profit cause!
This Battle includes a girls JV and Varsity game as well. Here is the blog of those two games!
https://thebleacherdenizen.com/2022/02/06/carson-city-crystal-at-fulton-girls-basketball-battle-of-m-57-the-bleacher-denizen-february-5-2022-by-chuck-krafft/


After I learned this I was able to leave my suit of armor and bazooka in the car before I entered the Fulton gym to cover the games. Fulton enters the game with a 4-6 record mostly in the rugged Central Michigan Athletic Conference while Carson City-Crystal has a 12-1 record and is tied for first place in the Mid State Activities Conference.

Carson City-Crystal (hereafter to be referred to as “CCC” to avoid callouses on your Bleacher Denizen’s fingertips) Coach Cory Schneider game me this information about his CCC players. Junior Mason Smith is in his third year of varsity basketball. He handles the ball well, can slash to the basket for layups, is a solid three point shooter and is an aggressive defender who gets a lot of steals. Mitchell Wing can score inside or from the three point line.

Jacob Stevens is a solid three point shooter. Brayden Clark and Max Heleski are tough post defenders and rebounders who are threats to score inside. Oisin O’Grady is a persistent perimeter defender.

This is my third Fulton game this year, so Coach Todd Walden has already filled me in on his Pirate players. Joe Iung is an excellent all-around player who defends aggressively in the perimeter and the post. On offense, he is an excellent shooter from three point land or in the midrange. He can be very creative about getting himself open to shoot. Bruce Thelen is a guard who is an excellent ball handler and defender. He is able to drive to the basket or shoot the three point shot.

Xander Ramsey is a tough defender who can hit the three point shot. Jadon Podolak is a good defender and can hit the three point shot. Renn Spaulding rebounds and defends in the post; he can score inside. Walker Eyer is a tough defensive player who is able to take a lot of charging fouls from the opposition and can get to the basket for layups. Zach Saller is a tall player who can defend inside or on the perimeter. He is a good three point shooter as well.

In the JV game, Fulton raced off to an 11-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, CCC turned the tables and outscored Fulton 9-1 to trim the Pirate lead to 12-9 at halftime. In the third quarter, CCC finally caught up with Cole Smith hit a layup to give CCC a 16-15 lead with about a minute left. In the fourth quarter CCC was able to pull away and won the game by the score of 30-23.

Ian Lamkin and Thomas Thelen led the Pirate JV scoring with 7 points each. Peyton Reynolds added 5 points and Parker Duflo scored 4 points.

Grayson Ackels led the CCC JVs with 10 points. Cole Smith supported him with 9 points. Gavin Reeder pitched in with 6 points. Bryson LeDuke scored 3 points and Klouse Andrews scored 2 points.

There was a ceremony to honor Fulton Coaches Jeff Stephens and Steve Proctor before the game. Both of them served the Pirates a long time in various coaching and administrative roles. Both of them have helped me a lot over the years. (Coach Proctor in particular has taught me a couple concepts.) It was great to see these fine men honored!!

It is now time to review the events of the boys’ game through the smudged lenses of an aging Bleacher Denizen who was never able to escape church league when he attempted to play basketball in the days of yore. The bricks launched by your Bleacher Denizen shattered way too many of the peach baskets we used to shoot on back in the days when the Bleacher Denizen’s hair was not white.

CCC wins the opening tap. Jacob Stevens passes to Max Heleski, who hits a layup for CCC. Brayden Clark knocks a Fulton pass out of bounds; the Pirates retain possession. Mitchell Wing knocks a Pirate pass out of bounds; Fulton gets the ball back. Bruce Thelen passes to Renn Spaulding for a Pirate layup to tie the game at 2-2.

CCC misses a layup. Fulton is whistled for an over and back violation. CCC loses a pass out of bounds. Joe Iung passes to Bruce Thelen, who hits a three point shot from the corner to give Fulton the lead. Joe Iung knocks a pass out of bounds; CCC gets the ball back. CCC misses a layup. Fulton misses a threeball from the corner. Joe Iung steals the ball for the Pirates. Fulton travels with the ball. (Basketball cliches can be interesting; I have my doubts that traveling without the ball is very newsworthy.)

CCC misses a six foot banked shot from the side. Fulton misses a three pointer from the corner; CCC travels with the rebound. (I guess this is just another way to travel with the ball.) Mitchell Wing steals the ball for CCC. Joe Iung knocks an Eagle pass into the lane out of bounds; CCC retains possession. CCC misses a three pointer from the wing. Jacob Stevens gets the offensive rebound for the Eagles. CCC misses a layup. Max Heleski gets the offensive rebound for the Eagles. Brayden Clark hits a three point shot from the side for CCC to tie the game at 5-5.

Fulton misses a ten foot shot from the wing. CCC misses a three point shot from the corner. Mitchell Wing steals a Pirate pass into the lane. Mitchell Wing passes to Jacob Stevens, who hits a three point shot from the top of the key for CCC. Mason Smith steals the ball for CCC and is fouled on a fast break layup. Mason Smith hits one of his two free throws to give CCC a 9-5 lead with 35.9 seconds left in the quarter.

Bruce Thelen drives and dishes the ball to Zach Saller, who is fouled on a layup and hits two free throws for Fulton. Walker Eyer steals the ball for Fulton. Mason Smith steals the ball for CCC. CCC is whistled for a double dribble violation with just 1.3 seconds to play in the quarter. Mitchell Wing knocks Fulton’s inbound pass to Max Heleski, who intercepts it. CCC misses a long heave as the first quarter buzzer makes its presence known.

After one quarter, CCC has a 9-7 lead.

Fulton has the ball to start out the second quarter. The Pirates miss a three pointer from the corner. Walker Eyer pulls down the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Zach Saller passes to Bruce Thelen, who is cutting to the basket; Bruce Thelen hits a layup to tie the game. Olsin O’Grady passes to Mason Smith, who hits a layup for CCC to retake the lead at 11-9.

Mitchell Wing steals the ball for CCC. The Eagles miss a three point shot from the corner. Brayden Clark knocks a Fulton pass out of bounds; Fulton gets the ball back. Mitchell Wing steals the Pirate inbound pass. Olsin O’Grady drives and hits a six foot banked hook for CCC. Fulton misses a three pointer from the wing; the rebound goes out of bounds and Fulton gets another opportunity. Mason Smith steals the ball for the Eagles; he passes to Olsin O’Grady, who is fouled on a fast break layup. Olsin O’Grady hits one of his two free throws to boost CCC to a 14-9 lead with 5:52 to play in the first half.

Fulton loses a pass out of bounds. Olsin O’Grady passes to Max Heleski, who hits a layup for CCC. Xander Ramsey passes to Joe Iung, who hits a six foot shot from the side of the lane for Fulton. Mason Smith passes to Mitchell Wing, who hits a three point shot from the side to give CCC a 19-11 lead.

Walker Eyer grabs a loose ball to prevent a Fulton turnover and hits a layup for the Pirates. CCC misses a three point attempt from the side. Fulton misses a layup. Renn Spaulding pulls down the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton misses a layup. Joe Iung chases down the long rebound for the Pirates. Fulton is assessed with an over and back violation. CCC misses a three point shot from the side. Max Heleski hits a putback to give the Eagles a 21-13 lead.

Mitchell Wing knocks the ball out of bounds; Fulton retains possession. Max Heleski steals a Pirate pass. CCC misses a layup and fouls on the rebound. Mason Smith steals the ball for the Eagles. CCC commits an over and back violation. Fulton misses a three point shot from the corner. Max Heleski passes to Jacob Stevens, who banks in an eighteen footer from the top of the key just inside the three point line to give CCC a 23-13 lead.

Fulton misses a three point shot from the side at the buzzer.

Carson City-Crystal has a 23-13 lead at halftime.

Max Heleski has 6 points to lead the CCC scoring at halftime.

Bruce Thelen has 5 points for Fulton.

CCC inbounds the ball to get the second half underway. CCC is assessed with an over and back violation. Brayden Clark steals a Fulton pass and is fouled on the play. Jadon Podolak dives to the floor and causes CCC to lose the ball out of bounds. Fulton misses a three point shot from the corner. Renn Spaulding hits a putback for the Pirates to trim the Eagle lead to 23-15.

Bruce Thelen draws a charging foul from the Eagles. Brayden Clark blocks a Fulton shot. CCC turns the ball over. Fulton is charged with a three second (in the lane) violation. Bruce Thelen steals the ball for the Pirates and is fouled. Mason Smith knocks the ball out of bounds; Fulton retains possession. The Pirates drive the baseline and miss a layup. CCC misses an eight foot shot from the side of the lane. Fulton fouls on the long rebound. Jadon Podolak knocks the ball out of bounds; CCC retains possession.

Renn Spaulding steals an Eagle pass. Fulton misses a twelve footer from the baseline. CCC misses a five foot hook shot in the lane and fouls on the rebound. Olsin O’Grady steals a Pirate pass. Mason Smith passes to Brayden Clark, who hits a three point shot from the side for CCC. Mason Smith steals the ball and hits a fast break layup to give the Eagles a 28-15 lead.

Fulton misses a three point shot from the corner. The rebound is tied up. After consulting with its international staff, the Possession Arrow decrees that CCC shall have the ball. Aiden Weber drives and hits a layup for CCC. Max Heleski steals a Pirate pass. CCC misses a three point shot from the side. Fulton misses a jumper off the dribble from the free throw line. CCC misfires on a triple try from the wing. Fulton reciprocates and misfires on a triple try from the wing. Zach Saller is fouled on a putback and hits one of his two free throws to shave the CCC lead to 30-16 with 45.9 seconds to play in the third quarter.

CCC misses a three point shot from the side. Brayden Clark gets the offensive rebound for the Eagles and drives the baseline for a CCC layup. Fulton does not have time to shoot before the buzzer ends the third quarter.

After three quarters, Carson City-Crystal has a 32-16 lead.

Fulton has the ball to open the fourth quarter. Zach Saller hits a twelve footer off the dribble from the side for the Pirates. CCC misses a three point shot from the wing. Fulton misses a htree point shot from the corner. Walker Eyer draws a charging foul from the Eagles. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Jadon Podolak ties up the rebound. The Possession Arrow looks up from its phone and awards the ball to CCC.

CCC misses a three point attempt from the corner. Mason Smith blocks a Fulton layup. Jadon Podolak steals the ball for the Pirates. Fulton misses a layup. CCC commits an offensive foul. Mason Smith steals the ball for the Eagles. CCC misses a fast break layup. Brayden Clark is fouled on a putback and hits one of his two free throws to give CCC a 33-18 with 3:22 left on the clock.

Max Heleski steals the ball for the Eagles. Mason Smith passes to a teammate who is fouled on a three pointer from the wing, but misses all three of his free throws. The rebound goes out of bounds and CCC gets the ball. Mason Smith passes to Max Heleski, who hits a layup for CCC to give the Eagles a 35-18 lead.

Fulton is fouled, but misses the first shot of a one and one opportunity. Zach Saller hits a putback and is fouled. He makes his free throw to trim the CCC lead to 35-21 with 2:17 to go.

CCC misses a three pointer from the wing. Zach Saller passes to Jadon Podolak, who hits a layup for the Pirates. CCC misses a driving reverse layup. Fulton misses a three point shot from the top of the key. Jadon Podolak knocks the ball out of bounds; the Eagles get the ball back. CCC misses a twelve foot shot from the baseline. Xander Ramsey hits a three point shot from the wing for Fulton. CCC dribbles out the clock.

CCC wins the boys part of the Battle of M-57 by a 35-26 score.

Zach Saller had 8 points to lead the Fulton scoring. Bruce Thelen added 5 points. Renn Spalding scored 4 points. Xander Ramsey had 3 points. Jadon Podolak, Walker Eyer and Joe Iung each had 2 points.

Brayden Clark led CCC with 9 points. Max Heleski supported him with 8 points. Mason Smith and Jacob Stevens each added 5 points. Olsin O’Grady and Mitchell Wing each put in 3 points. Aiden Weber had 2 points.

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