Fulton vs. Fowler – – MHSAA Boys District Semifinal – – The Bleacher Denizen – – March 9, 2022 – – by Chuck Krafft

It’s time for tonight’s second game in the Fowler District. Here is a link to tonight’s first game between Webberville and Portland St. Patrick.

https://thebleacherdenizen.com/2022/03/10/webberville-vs-portland-st-patrick-mhsaa-boys-district-semifinal-the-bleacher-denizen-march-9-2022-by-chuck-krafft/

The Fulton Pirates enter the game with a 10-11 record. They finished tied for fifth (out of nine teams) in the rugged CMAC with an 8-8 record.

Joe Iung is an athletic player who is tall enough to defend inside and is also quick and agile enough to cover people on the perimeter. Perhaps the best way to display his athletic ability is to point you to the final three seconds of Fulton’s first round game where he soared to the basket, caught a pass and smoothly laid it into the basket to give his Pirates the win. Here is a link to that game! https://thebleacherdenizen.com/2022/03/08/lansing-christian-vs-fulton-first-round-mhsaa-district-tournament-the-bleacher-denizen-march-7-2022-by-chuck-krafft/

Joe Iung is also a creative ball handler and passer who can contort his body to free himself for makable inside or outside shots that no one else would dare to try.

Bruce Thelen is a classic point guard who handles the ball well, drives to the basket well, hits the three point shot and passes well. He is a strong defender on the perimeter, too. Xander Ramsey defends well on the perimeter and is a threat from the three point line. Jadon Podolak also defends well and can hit the three pointer. Renn Sapulding rebounds and defends really well in the post.

Zach Saller is tall enough and agile enough to defend either the perimeter or the post. He knows how to get open in the lane for layups and also has a nice three point shot. Walker Eyer plays tough defense, mostly in the post. He has a knack for drawing charging fouls from the other team.

The Fowler Eagles finished fourth in the CMAC with a 9-7 record. (Fulton, Fowler and St. Patrick are the only Division 4 schools in the CMAC; the other schools are all larger. The Eagles were 13-7 overall.

Fowler Freshman Jacob Halfmann runs the point and has improved each time I have seen him this year. He is a calm decision maker who handles the ball well and defends the perimeter well. He can either slash to the basket and can get really hot from the three point line. Fellow Freshman Alex Halfmann starts in the post where he contributes to the Eagle interior defense and rebounds well. Chase Pung is a guard in his fourth year on the Eagle varsity. He has a lot of confidence and poise; he is never afraid to hoist a shot in a crucial moment and he makes his share of them. He is also a persistent and willing defender on the perimeter.

Treagan O’Rourke is a versatile player who defends well, rebounds well and has a knack for setting screens and doing the other things all good teams need. He is a good scorer who has a knack for drawing fouls from the opposition. Nick Epkey and Peyton Follick are strong rebounders and defenders who can score in the post. Ben Schafer brings defensive aggression and usually a hot hand off the Fowler bench. Nolan Stump is a fine three point shooter.

It is now time to reveal the events of this game through the recently cleaned prism of an aging Bleacher Denizen who was never able to escape church league when he attempted to play basketball in the days of yore. When the basketball powers that be refused to allow your Bleacher Denizen to use a bazooka to fire up his outside shots, he was not able to overcome having to get the shots to the basket on his own. Alas, it was a career-defining event!!

The opening tap goes out of bounds and has to be redone. (Do we call the second tap “the secondary tap”? The “deja vu tap”?? The mind boggles!!!) While the Bleacher Denizen is torturing himself with semantics, the refs toss the ball up again and Fulton wins the tap.

Bruce Thelen hits a twelve footer off the dribble from the side of the lane to give Fulton the game’s first two points. Renn Spalding steals an Eagle pass. Joe Iung gets into the lane and banks in a ten foot shot to give Fulton a 5-0 lead.

Fowler misfires on a threeball from the wing. Fulton reciprocates and misfires on a threeball from the wing. Fowler misses a six foot shot from the baseline. Fulton misses a threeball from the wing. The rebound goes out of bounds and Fulton gets the ball back. Jacob Halfmann gets his hand on the ball, but Fulton is able to recover. Fulton misfires on a three pointer from the wing.

Xander Ramsey gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Zach Saller gets the offensive rebound for Fulton. Treagan O’Rourke steals the ball for Fowler. Jacob Halfmann passes to Alex Halfmann, who hits a three point shot from the side to cut the Fulton lead to 4-3.

Fulton misses a six foot shot from the side. Zach Saller gets the offensive rebound for Fulton. Fulton misses a layup. Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. Jacob Halfmann steals the ball for the Eagles. Zach Saller gets his hand on a Fowler pass and knocks it out of bounds; the Eagles retain possession. Fowler drives the baseline, but misses a layup. Joe Iung hits a twelve foot shot off the dribble in the lane for Fulton. Nolan Stump passes to Peyton Follick, who is fouled on a layup and hits two free throws to trim the Fulton lead to 6-5 with 2:53 to play in the first quarter.

Bruce Thelen hits a three point shot off the dribble near the top of the key for Fulton. Fowler misses a threeball near the top of the key. Ben Schafer draws a charging foul from Fulton. Walker Eyer returns the favor and draws a charging foul from Fowler. Nolan Stump’s tough defense leads to a Fulton traveling violation. Fowler misses a three point shot from the side. Jacob Halfmann causes a tie up. The Possession Arrow’s legal staff admires his hustle and awards the ball to Fowler.

Fowler misses a three point shot from the corner. Peyton Follick grabs the offensive rebound for the Eagles. Walker Eyer knocks the ball out of bounds to prevent a Fowler layup. Fowler gets the ball back. Alex Halfmann passes to Nolan Stump, who hits a three point shot from the side to trim the Fulton lead to one point. Joe Iung drives and dishes the ball to Walker Eyer, who hits a layup for Fulton. Fowler loses the ball out of bounds with just 2.2 seconds left in the quarter. Fulton is not able to shoot before the buzzer blares.

After one quarter, Fulton has an 11-8 lead.

Fulton inbounds the ball to open the second quarter. Fulton misses a threeball from the side. Alex Halfmann passes to Ben Schafer, who hits a three point shot from the side for Fowler to tie the game. Jacob Halfmann knocks the ball away from Fulton and Ben Schafer picks it up for Fowler. Fowler misses a fast break layup; the rebound goes out of bounds and Fowler retains possession. Alex Halfmann passes to Ben Schafer, who hits a threeball from the wing to give Fowler a 14-11 lead.

Fulton misses a three point shot from the corner. Fowler misses a ten foot shot from the baseline and fouls on the rebound. Nolan Stump knocks the ball away from the Pirates and out of bounds; Fulton retains possession. Fulton misses a layup; the Pirates get the offensive rebound, but they misfire on a triple try from the side. Fowler reciprocates and misfires on a triple try from the side. Joe Iung fires the ball to Bruce Thelen, who hits a three point shot from the side for Fulton to tie the game at 14-14.

Fowler misses a three point shot from the corner. Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Dezmond Blair grabs the offensive rebound for Fulton. Jacob Halfmann knocks the ball away from the Pirates to an Eagle teammate. Fowler misses a three pointer from the corner. Fulton misses a three pointer from the wing. Fowler misses a layup. Xander Ramsey passes to Bruce Thelen, who hits a three point shot from the wing to give Fulton a 17-14 lead.

Ben Schafer drives and dishes the ball to Jacob Halfmann, who throws in a three point shot from the corner for Fowler to tie the game. Alex Halfmann kicks the ball out of bounds; Fulton misses a three point shot from the corner and fouls on the rebound. Bruce Thelen knocks the ball out of bounds; Fowler retains possession. Peyton Follick passes to Alex Halfmann, who hits a fifteen foot shot from the side to give Fowler a 19-17 lead.

Ben Schafer knocks the ball out of bounds; Fulton retains possession. Walker Eyer is fouled and hits both shots in a one and one free throw opportunity to tie the game at 19-19 with 47.9 seconds left in the first half.

Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. Fulton reciprocates and misses a three point shot from the wing. Jadon Podolak grabs the offensive rebound for Fulton. Fulton misses the layup and gets the offensive rebound. The Pirates miss a rushed three pointer from the corner as the halftime buzzer makes its presence known.

At halftime, this game is tied a 19-19.

Bruce Thelen has 11 points to lead the Fulton scoring.

Ben Schafer has 6 points and Alex Halfmann has 5 points for Fowler.

Because there is no entertainment at halftime, I’ll submit this original religious song from my “Chuck Krafft” You Tube Channel. It sounds like a Beach Boys song, but it’s really an original. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN0-4a2TpaI

Fowler inbounds the ball to get the third quarter started, but quickly commits a traveling violation. Renn Spalding passes to Bruce Thelen, who hits a layup to give Fulton a two point lead. Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. Chase Pung steals the ball for Fowler. Fowler misfires on a threeball from the side. Peyton Follick is fouled on a putback and hits two free throws for Fowler to tie the game at 21-21 with 7:07 to play in the third quarter.

Fulton misses a jump shot from the free throw line. Renn Spalding gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Bruce Thelen is fouled on a fifteen foot shot from the baseline and hits one of two free throws to give Fulton a one point lead. Fowler misses a three point shot from the corner. The rebound goes out of bounds and Fulton gets the ball. Bruce Thelen is fouled on a threeball from the top of the key and hits one, two, three free throws to give Fulton a 25-21 lead with 6:24 left in the third quarter.

Jacob Halfmann drives and hits a layup for Fowler. Zach Saller is fouled on a layup and hits one of his two free throws for Fulton. Fowler misses a three point shot from the side. Fulton misses a fourteen foot shot from the side of the lane. Bruce Thelen pirates the ball for the Pirates. Ben Schafer knocks the ball out of bounds; Fulton retains possession. Fulton misses a three point shot from the side. Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. Treagan O’Rourke gets the offensive rebound for the Eagles. Joe Iung blocks an Eagle layup; the loose ball goes out of bounds and Fowler gets it back.

Fulton misses a three point shot from the wing. Treagan O’Rourke steals the ball for Fowler. Fowler misses a three pointer from the corner and fouls on the rebound. Fulton misses a ten foot shot form the baseline. Zach Saller gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton misses a layup. Zach Saller gets the offensive rebound for Fulton and is fouled. Fulton misses a six foot banked shot. Zach Saller is fouled on a putback and hits one of his two free throws to give the Pirates a 27-23 lead with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter.

Walker Eyer pulls down the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton misses a layup. Joe Iung steals the ball for Fulton. He is fouled on the play and hits one of two free throws in a one and one opportunity to give Fulton a 28-23 lead with 2:35 to play in the game.

Joe Iung steals a pass and passes to Zach Saller for a Fulton fast break layup. Jacob Halfmann hits a jumper off the dribble from the free throw line for Fowler. Fulton is fouled, but misses the first shot in a one and one free throw opportunity. Joe Iung knocks the ball away from Fowler and causes a tieup. The Possession Arrow’s team admires his hustle and awards the ball to Fulton. Bruce Thelen is fouled and hits one of two free throws in a one and one opportunity to boost Fulton to a 31-25 lead with 1:27 to play in the third quarter.

Bruce Thelen gets the offensive rebound from the missed free throw and hits a ten foot shot from the side of the lane for Fulton. Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. Bruce Thelen passes to Joe Iung, who banks in a ten footer in the lane to give the Pirates a ten point lead. Alex Halfmann passes to Chase Pung, who hits a three point shot from the wing for Fowler just before the third quarter buzzer sounds.

After three quarters, Fulton has a 35-28 lead.

Fowler has the ball to start out the fourth quarter. A Fowler triple try gets wedged between the backboard and the rim. Before I can even get down to the court to offer my services, a player leaps up and knocks the ball down. (Sniff. They didn’t even ask ME!! I would gladly have rocketed my aging, obese body up to the rim to knock the ball down, but they didn’t even ask!!! I feel excluded.)
The Possession Arrow makes its opinion known and the ball is given to Fulton. Jacob Halfmann knocks the ball away from the Pirates; Nolan Stump picks the ball up and hits a fast break layup for the Eagles. Fulton misses a three pointer from the wing.

Fowler reciprocates and misses a three pointer from the wing. Peyton Follick gets the offensive rebound for Fowler. Fulton misses a threeball from the side; the Pirates get the offensive rebound. Fulton misses a three pointer from the corner. Joe Iung gets the offensive rebound and passes to Renn Spalding, who is fouled on a layup and hits two free throws to give Fulton a 35-30 lead with 5:14 left on the clock.

Peyton Follick passes to Ben Schafer, who hits a three point shot from the corner for Fowler. Fulton misses a layup. Bruce Thelen gets the offensive rebound and banks in a six foot shot for Fulton. Bruce Thelen steals the ball for the Pirates. Xander Ramsey passes to Bruce Thelen, who is fouled on a layup and hits one of his two free throws to push Fulton to a 38-33 lead with 3:36 remaining in the contest.

Fowler misses a jump shot from the free throw line. Jacob Halfmann gets the offensive rebound for the Eagles. Bruce Thelen draws a charging foul from the Eagles. Fulton misses a jumper from the free throw elbow. Joe Iung gets the offensive rebound for the Pirates. Fulton misses a layup. Fowler is cited for a traveling violation. Fulton is also cited for a traveling violation. Fowler misses a three point shot from the side. Ben Schafer pulls down the offensive rebound and passes to Chase Pung, who hits a three point shot from the side to chop the Fulton lead to 38-36.

Bruce Thelen drives and dishes the ball to Zach Saller, who hits a layup for Fulton. Ben Schafer hits a three point shot from the side to cut the Fulton lead down to a single point. Jadon Podolak is fouled and makes two important free throws to give Fulton a 42-39 lead with 1:27 left on the clock.

Fowler misses a three point shot from the corner. Bruce Thelen is fouled getting the rebound and hits one of his two free throws for Fulton. Fowler misses a three point shot from the side. Joe Iung is fouled and hits one of his two free throws to extend the Fulton lead to 44-39 with 34.6 seconds left in the game.

Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. The rebound is tied up; the Possession Arrow decides to give the ball to Fowler. Zach Halfmann passes to Chase Pung, who hits a three point shot from the wing to cut the Fulton lead to two points. Joe Iung is fouled and makes two free throws to give Fulton a 46-42 lead with 12.1 seconds to go.

Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. There is a huge scramble for the rebound. Just before time expires, Joe Iung grabs the ball and dribbles away from the pack. The final buzzer sounds.

Fulton wins this game 46-42 and will advance to play Webberville in Friday’s District Final.

Ben Schafer hit four three point shots and led Fowler with 12 points. Chase Pung hit three three point shots in the second half and ended up with 9 points. Jacob Halfmann put in 7 points. Nolan Stump and Alex Halfmann each scored 5 points. Peyton Follick tossed in 4 points.

Bruce Thelen led the Fulton scoring with 22 points. Joe Iung joined his teammate in double figures with 10 points. Zach Saller tossed in 6 points. Walker Eyer added 4 points. Jadon Podolak and Renn Spalding each scored 2 points.

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