Lansing Christian vs. Fulton – – First Round – – MHSAA District Tournament – – The Bleacher Denizen – – March 7, 2022 – – by Chuck Krafft

Tonight, your Bleacher Denizen’s journey gets him over to Fowler to watch the two first round games of the Division 4 District tournament. Here is a link to the Morrice game vs. Portland St. Patrick that was played first tonight.

https://thebleacherdenizen.com/2022/03/08/morrice-vs-portland-st-patrick-mhsaa-boys-district-first-round-the-bleacher-denizen-march-7-2022-by-chuck-krafft/

The Pilgrims from Lansing Christian will play the Pirates from Fulton in the second game. Both teams are in leagues where most of the schools have much more enrollment than they do and play mostly Division 2 or Division 3 teams, so their records are a bit misleading. That said, Lansing Christian enters the game with a 5-15 record and Fulton is at 9-11.

Elijah Ellis runs the point for the Pilgrims. He is a strong ball handler, distributor and perimeter defender. Caden Kinnas and Benjamin Sullivan can get red hot from the three point line. Timothy Sullivan is an excellent rebounder and defender who slashes to the basket well. He is also adept at drawing charging fouls.

Baylor Brogan is a tough defender and rebounder in the post. August Granger is a fine inside scorer and post defender. Judah Schafer is effective slashing to the basket. Samuel Israel plays tough, energetic defense and has a knack of causing deflections and turnovers. Noah Link provides defense on the perimeter and ball handling. Dylan Kinnas has a nice three point shot and defends well on the perimeter.

Fulton has a 9-11 record entering this game. They only had four Division 4 teams on their challenging schedule, thus the record does not completely reflect their team’s quality.

Joe Iung is an excellent scorer and defender for the Pirates. He is a good shooter and is also very athletic. He is very creative at finding ways to get open and can hit shots most other players won’t dare to try. Bruce Thelen is a classic point guard who defends well, handles the ball, distributes it and can score either from the three point line or on drives to the basket.

Xander Ramsey has a dangerous three point shot. Renn Spaulding is a tough defender and rebounder in the post. Zach Saller is tall and athletic enough to defend either on the wing or in the post. He has a nice three point shot and gets quite a few putbacks. Walker Eyer is a tough post defender who has a knack for drawing charging fouls from opponents. Jadon Podolak is a solid perimeter defender and ball handler who can hit the three point shot. Dezmond Blair is a solid post defender.

It is now time to look through the events of this game through the tired, aging lenses of a tired, aging Bleacher Denizen who was never able to escape church league when he attempted to hoop in the days of yore. Your Bleacher Denizen never completely learned how much coaches frown on turnovers; when he made them in a bakery, his employer always encouraged them.

Christian wins the opening tap. Benjamin Sullivan passes to Caden Kinnas, who hits a three point shot from the side for the Pilgrims to give them the first three points of the game. Christian’s press gets them a steal. Elijah Ellis drives and hits a layup for the Pilgrims. Joe Iung passes to Bruce Thelen, who hits a three point shot from the corner to trim the Pilgrim lead to 5-3.

Christian misfires on a threeball from the corner. Caden Kinnas gets the offensive rebound for Christian. Christian loses the ball out of bounds. Fulton misses a three pointer from the corner. Joe Iung gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Bruce Thelen picks up a loose ball and takes it in for a Pirate layup. He is fouled on the play, but misses his free throw. With 6:05 to play in the first quarter, the game is tied at 5-5.

Joe Iung steals a Pilgrim pass. Joe Iung passes to Xander Ramsey, who hits a three point shot from the wing to give Fulton the lead. Joe Iung knocks the ball out of bounds; Christian retains possession. Christian misses a layup. Benjamin Sullivan is fouled on a putback and hits two free throws to trim the Pirate lead to 8-7 with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter.

August Granger blocks a Pirate layup. Christian misses a driving layup. The rebound goes out of bounds and the Pilgrims get another opportunity. Joe Iung steals the ball and hits a fast break layup to boost the Fulton lead to 10-7.

Christian misses a layup. Fulton misses an eight foot runner from the side of the lane. Christian misses a layup. Fulton loses the ball out of bounds. Christian misses a three point shot from the corner. Jadon Podolak drives, spins and is fouled on a six foot banked shot and hits two free throws to give Fulton a 12-7 lead with 3:21 to play in the first quarter.

Walker Eyer plays tough defense in the lane to prevent a Pilgrim layup; Christian loses the ball out of bounds. Judah Schafer blocks a Fulton layup. Christian misses a three point shot from the corner. Fulton misses a three point shot from the side. Joe Iung steals the ball and hits a fast break layup to give Fulton a 14-7 lead.

Elijah Ellis drives and dishes the ball to Samuel Israel, who hits a layup for the Pilgrims. Benjamin Sullivan steals the ball and hits a fast break layup for Christian. Fulton misses a ten foot shot in the lane. The rebound goes out of bounds and the Pilgrims take possession. Baylor Brogan passes to Samuel Israel, who hits a layup to cut the Fulton lead to 14-13.

Christian’s press causes Fulton to turn the ball over for failing to cross the midcourt line in ten seconds. Christian is whistled for a double dribble violation. Xander Ramsey recovers a bad pass to prevent a Pirate turnover. Fulton misses a threeball from the corner. Renn Spalding gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton misses a ten foot shot in the lane. Christian misses a three point attempt from the corner. Fulton is not able to shoot before the first quarter buzzer makes its presence known.

After one quarter, Fulton has a 14-13 lead.

Fulton inbounds the ball to get the second quarter started. Tim Sullivan clamps down and forces a Fulton turnover when he closely guards a Pirate ball handler for five seconds. Samuel Israel blocks a Fulton layup. Zach Saller blocks a Christian layup; the Pilgrims recover the loose ball. Christian misses a three point shot from the corner. Bruce Thelen throws the rebound off a Christian player to secure the ball for Fulton.

Fulton misses a three pointer from the side. The rebound goes out of bounds and Christian gets the ball. Joe Iung knocks the ball away from Christian and Bruce Thelen picks it up for Fulton. Fulton is assessed with a traveling violation. Elijah Ellis drives and hits a layup to give Christian a 15-14 lead.

Samuel Israel knocks the ball away from Fulton and Elijah Ellis picks it up for Christian. Elijah Ellis passes to Tim Sullivan, who knocks down a threeball from the top of the key for Christian. Benjamin Sullivan knocks a Pirate pass out of bounds; the Pirates retain possession. Bruce Thelen passes to Zach Saller for a Fulton layup. Christian misfires on a threeball from the wing. Fulton passes the ball out of bounds. Tim Sullivan drives the baseline and hits a layup for Christian to boost the Pilgrim lead to 20-16.

Jadon Podolak makes a nice pass to Zach Saller, who is fouled before he can shoot a layup. Elijah Ellis knocks the ball away from Fulton and Samuel Israel takes it for Christian. A Christian dribbler loses the ball out of bounds on the fast break. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Jadon Podolak draws a charging foul to negate a Christian eight footer from the baseline. Benjamin Sullivan steals the ball for Christian, but steps on the baseline as he does it.

Fulton misses a three pointer from the wing. Renn Spalding pulls down the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton is fouled, but misses the first shot in a one and one free throw opportunity. Joe Iung pulls down the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton misses a three pointer from the side. The rebound goes out of bounds and the Pirates get another opportunity. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Christian misses a three pointer from the corner; the ball goes out of bounds and the Pilgrims get it back. Caden Kinnas drives and banks in a six foot shot from the side to give Christian a 22-16 lead.

Fulton misses a six foot banked shot. Dezmond Blair gets the offensive rebound for Fulton. Christian ties the ball up. The Possession Arrow consults its secretarial pool and determines that Fulton should get the ball back. Bruce Thelen inbounds the ball to Joe Iung, who hits a ten foot shot from the baseline for the Pirates. Christian throws up a threeball that bounces off the rim, hits the basket support wire and falls through the hoop. The shot is waved off (because the basket support is out of bounds.)

Bruce Thelen passes the ball to Joe Iung, who hits a three point shot from the corner for the Pirates. Christian misses a rushed, off-balance three point shot from the wing as the halftime buzzer sounds.

Christian has a 22-21 halftime lead.

Joe Iung leads the Fulton scoring with 9 points and Bruce Thelen has 5 points.

Caden Kinnas and Tim Sullivan each have 5 points for Christian.

As there is no halftime entertainment, I’ll submit this video of my friend Mark Wilcox singing one of my original songs!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PURLmxT_3Q

Christian inbounds the ball to begin the third quarter. Zach Saller knocks the ball away from Christian, but the Pilgrims recover. Joe Iung knocks the ball out of bounds; Christian retains possession. Christian misses a three point shot from the wing. Benjamin Sullivan snares the offensive rebound for the Pilgrims. Christian misses a three pointer from the wing. Tim Sullivan hits a putback to give Christian a three point lead. Fulton misses a three point shot; Joe Iung gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Bruce Thelen takes and makes a ten foot shot from the baseline to trim the Christian lead to 24-23.

Christian misses a three point shot from the wing. Bruce Thelen hits a three point shot from the side to give Fulton a two point lead. Christian misses a layup. Joe Iung drives and hits a layup to give Fulton a 28-24 lead.

Joe Iung knocks the ball out of bounds; Christian retains possession. Christian misses a three point shot from the top of the key. Fulton misses a shot from the top of the key with a foot on the three point line. Bruce Thelen draws a charging foul from Christian. Tim Sullivan steals the ball for Christian.

Walker Eyer knocks the ball out of bounds; the Pilgrims retain possession. Christian misses a layup. Samuel Israel knocks the ball away from Fulton and Judah Schafer picks it up for Christian. Christian misses a ten footer from the side. Joe Iung hits an athletic shot from ten feet on the baseline off the dribble while leaning back to give the Pirates a 30-24 lead.

Christian misfires on a triple try from the wing. Baylor Brogan gets the offensive rebound for the Pilgrims. Christian misses a layup Fulton misses a three point shot from the corner. Jadon Podolak fights for the rebound and Christian loses the ball out of bounds; Fulton gets another opportunity. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Joe Iung knocks the ball away from Christian, but Samuel Isreal saves the ball for the Pilgrims.

Christian throws a pass out of bounds. Tim Sullivan steals the ball for the Pilgrims. Joe Iung draws a charging foul from the Pilgrims. Bruce Thelen passes to Walker Eyer, who spins and hits a layup for Fulton. He is fouled on the play, but misses his free throw. Zach Saller snares the rebound for Fulton and puts it back through the hook to give Fulton a 34-24 lead with just under two minutes to play in the third quarter.

Christian is whistled for a double dribble violation. Tim Sullivan blocks a Pirate layup. Christian misses a fast break layup. Fulton misses a layup. Tim Sullivan passes to Caden Kinnas, who hits a three point shot from the corner for Christian. Baylor Brogan steals the ball for the Pilgrims. Caden Kinnas hits a layup just before the end of the quarter to chop the Pirate lead to 34-29.

After three quarters, Fulton leads 34-29.

Fulton inbounds the ball to get the fourth quarter underway. Fulton misses a layup. Noah Link passes to Samuel Israel, who hits a layup, is fouled and makes his free throw to cut the Fulton lead to 34-32 with 7:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Fulton misses a ten foot shot from the side. Bruce Thelen draws a charging foul from Christian. Bruce Thelen is fouled on a driving layup and hits two free throws for Fulton to extend the Pirate lead to four points. Christian misses a driving layup. Benjamin Sullivan pulls down the offensive rebound for the Pilgrims. Christian misses a layup. Bruce Thelen passes to Zach Saller, who hits a layup for Fulton. Caden Kinnas passes to Samuel Israel, who hits a layup to trim the Fulton lead to 38-34.

Fulton fails to cross midcourt in ten seconds and turns the ball over. Christian misses a three point shot from the wing. Tim Sullivan is fouled on a putback and hits two free throws to slice the Fulton lead to 38-36 with 5:02 left in the game.

Fulton misses a jump shot from the free throw line. Christian misses a driving layup and fouls on the rebound. Benjamin Sullivan steals a Fulton pass and hits a fast break layup for Christian to tie the game. Elijah Ellis steals the ball for the Pilgrims. Christian misses a fast break layup.

Fulton misses a three point shot from the side. The rebound goes out of bounds and Fulton gets another opportunity. Elijah Ellis knocks the ball out of bounds; the Pirates retain possession. Walker Eyer passes to Zach Saller, who hits a hook/layup for Fulton to give the Pirates a two point lead. Tim Sullivan drives and hits a layup for Christian to tie the game at 40-40.

Joe Iung is fouled and hits one of two free throws in a one and one opportunity for Fulton. Joe Iung gets his hand on the ball and causes Christian to lose the rebound out of bounds. Fulton gets the ball back. Baylor Brogan steals the ball for Christian. The Pilgrims commit a traveling violation. Elijah Ellis knocks the ball away from Fulton and Baylor Brogan picks it up for Christian. He passes to Elijah Ellis, who hits a fast break layup to give Christian a one point lead. Bruce Thelen is fouled and hits one of two free throws in a one and one opportunity for Fulton to tie the game at 42-42 with 1:43 left on the clock.

Renn Spalding gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Samuel Israel and Tim Sullivan team up to tie the ball up. The Possession Arrow and his secretarial pool are impressed with Christian’s hustle and award the ball to the Pilgrims. Bruce Thelen steals the ball and hits a fast break layup to give Fulton a 44-42 lead.

Fulton steals the ball, but Caden Kinnas quickly steals it back for Christian. He passes to Elijah Ellis, who hits a layup to tie the game at 44-44.

Fulton misses a ten foot shot in the lane. Xander Ramsey draws a charging foul from the Pilgrims. Fulton nearly loses the ball, but Christian kicks it, so the Pirates get it back. Elijah Ellis blocks a Pirate three ball from the corner; it goes out of bounds and Fulton gets the ball back with 2.4 seconds to go. Joe Iung flies down the free throw lane and soars as Bruce Thelen inbounds the ball to him perfectly. Joe Iung catches the ball at the rim and deposits the ball through the basket to give Fulton a 46-44 lead with 1.8 seconds left.

Christian misses a half court shot at the buzzer.

Fulton wins 46-44 and advances to play Fowler in the District Semifinal on Wednesday.

Tim Sullivan led the Lansing Christian scoring with 11 points. Caden Kinnas joined his teammate in double figures with 10 points. Samuel Israel scored 9 points and Elijah Ellis added 8 points. Benjamin Sullivan scored 6 points.

Joe Iung led the Fulton scoring with 16 points. Bruce Thelen supported his teammate with 15 points. Zach Saller added 8 points. Xander Ramsey scored 3 points. Jadon Podolak and Walker Eyer each tallied 2 points.

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