Carson City Crystal at Blanchard Montabella – – Boys Basketball – – the Bleacher Denizen – – February 1, 2023 – – by Chuck Krafft
Tonight, the Bleacher Denizen’s journey takes him to Montabella High School. In this video of Red River Valley from my You Tube Channel, I mention that you never know where the Red River Valley will lead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w03AhhNk1M8
Fortunately, M-46 and Wyman Road get you pretty close. The Bleacher Denizen was able to find the high school in an afternoon reconnaissance drive with a lot of help from a secretary, Melanie, who was kind and patient as she explained how to get to the school. (I know this will probably date me to use this phrase, but I’ve always been the sort of person who could get lost in a telephone booth.)
Of course, I want to give a shutout to the Maxfield Inn, which is an excellent hotel and allowed me to do this game and last night’s game in Stanton (Central Montcalm) in a situation where I don’t have to drive all the way to Lansing before I can start the article.
When I got to the game, I noted that Alex Freeman, who does a wonderful job reporting for the Greenville Daily News was there. Your Bleacher Denizen will need to be especially accurate tonight! (Actually, Mr. Freeman is a great guy who always welcomes the old guy from Lansing when I cover games in his area!)
The Montabella Mustangs are undefeated in the MSAC Conference with an 8-0 record; they are 8-1 overall. Their only loss is to Division 2 Lansing Catholic. The Eagles from Carson City Crystal are 8-1 in the MSAC and 9-3 overall. Thus, this game will have a lot of meaning in the MSAC Standings!
When I covered Montabella’s road game at Fulton earlier this year, Mustang Coach Jared Simon helped me with some information about his players. J.T. Smith is a returning All-State player who is a fine three point shooter, slashes to the basket well and handles the ball well. Drew Kelsey defends well in the post and can slash to the basket to score. Evan Judge runs the point most of the time. He is a solid ball handler and good perimeter defender.
Rayce Sackett is a versatile defender who is comfortable either on the perimeter or in the post. He is a speedy player who slashes to the basket well. Austin Foster is a good post defender who is adept at turning passes into the lane into layups. He is also solid shooting from the three point line or from midrange. Chase Burggren was injured and did not play against Fulton. He was the football team’s quarterback. In basketball, he has the agility to defend on the perimeter combined with the strength to be a factor with his post defense. He is an excellent passer and ball handler who can handle any position.
To save wear and tear on your Aging Bleacher Denizen’s aging fingers, I will generally use CCC to refer to Carson-City Crystal. (Hopefully the real reason is “wear and tear” and not outright laziness. I guess only the Bleacher Denizen’s analyst really knows the answer to this.)
I have also covered a CCC game earlier this year when they played a tough Fowler team. Coach Cory Schneider helped me out with this information about his Eagle players.
Mason Smith is a four year varsity player who leads the Eagles on the court. He is a persistent defender and is a threat to score either on drives to the basket or from the three point line. Brayden Clark is a tall, athletic forward who can slash to the basket and can get hot from the three point line. Oisin O’Grady is a tough defensive point guard who can use his quickness to get to the basket.
Jacob Stevens is a tough perimeter defender who gets a lot of steals. Michael Husted is a solid defender near the basket.
I got to the JV game early enough to see almost all of the second quarter. The Mustang JVs led 8-6 after one quarter and 12-10 at halftime. In the third quarter, CCC took a brief 13-12 lead on a three point shot from Klouse Andrews. After that, Montabella outscored CCC 20-5 and had a 32-18 lead going into the final quarter. The Mustangs ended up winning the game 42-22.
Isaah Kirvan led the Carson City-Crystal JVs with 6 points. Jordan Winslow and Klouse Andrews each added 5 points. Connor McAlvey scored 3 points. Bryson LeDuke put in 2 points and Kieran Craddock tallied 1 point.
Connor Ball led the victorious Montabella JVs with 19 points. Jesse Nessen contributed 8 points and Chase Keller pitched in with 7 points. Justin James scored 4 points. Gavin Willis and Malachi Houghton each had 2 points.
It is now time to review the events of the varsity game through the (hopefully) thoughtful gaze of an Aging Bleacher Denizen who was never able to escape church league when he attempted to play hoops in the times now known as the “Stone Age.” While many people criticized the Bleacher Denizen’s ball handling, to be fair, the stones that we used for basketballs back in the day were really unpredictable and frequently did not bounce all that well.
Gale Nesbitt, the announcer used his dulcet tones to introduce the starting lineup, explain the necessary sportsmanship for the fans and introduce the National Anthem. It is now time for the game to start!
CCC wins the opening tap. Oisin O’Grady passes to Brayden Clark, who hoists and hits a three point shot from the wing to give his Eagles the early lead. Jacob Stevens gets his hand on the ball, but Montabella is able to recover. Evan Judge passes to Drew Kelsey, who quickly relays the ball to Austin Foster, who scores a layup to trim the CCC lead to 3-2.
CCC miss a layup. J.T. Smith drives to the basket for a layup that gives Montabella a one point lead. Austin Foster blocks a CCC shot. Michael Husted steals a Montabella pass in the lane. Oisin O’Grady passes to Michael Husted, who makes a short drive to the basket and hits a layup that gives CCC a 5-4 lead.
Montabella misses a layup. CCC misses a driving reverse layup. Montabella misfires on a triple try from the corner. CCC misses a threeball from the side. Michael Husted draws a charging foul from Montabella. CCC drives the lane and throws a pass out of bounds. Austin Foster passes to a teammate who is fouled on a layup, but misses both his free throws. Oisin O’Grady drives and dishes the ball to Michael Husted, who scores a layup to give CCC 7-4 lead.
Montabella misses a layup. Brayden Clark passes to Mason Smith, who hits a three point shot from the wing for CCC. Mason Smith gets his hand on the ball, but Montabella is able to recover to save their possession. Montabella misses a twelve foot shot off the dribble from the baseline. Evan Judge’s sticky defense leads to a CCC traveling violation. Jacob Stevens steals the ball for CCC at the buzzer.
After one quarter, Carson City-Crystal has a 10-4 lead.
Montabella inbounds the ball to get the second quarter started. The Mustangs miss a driving layup. Cole Smith hits a fast break layup for the Eagles. Montabella misses a jump shot. CCC misses a three pointer near the top of the key. Jacob Stevens knocks the ball out of bounds; Montabella gets another opportunity. Mason Smith knocks the ball away from Montabella. Cole Smith takes the ball to the other end for a fast break layup that gives the Eagles a 14-4 lead.
Montabella throws a pass into the lane too high and out of bounds. CCC misses a driving layup. J.T. Smith gets the defensive rebound and goes coast to coast to hit a layup for the Mustangs. J.T. Smith stays active on defense as well as he knocks the Eagle inbound pass out; CCC retains possession. Chase Burggren’s tough defense forces a CCC traveling violation. Montabella misses a layup. CCC misses a threeball from the top of the key. Brayden Clark snags the offensive rebound for the EAgles. Mason Smith darts into the lane and hits a six foot shot to give the Eagles a 16-6 lead.
Evan Judge passes to J.T. Smith, who hits a three pointer from the corner for the Mustangs. CCC misses a driving eight foot shot from the side of the lane. Rayce Sackett passes to Austin Foster, who hits a layup for the Mustangs. CCC misses a driving layup. The Mustangs are whistled for an offensive foul. CCC misses a driving layup. Michael Husted gets the offensive rebound for the Eagles. CCC misses a layup. J.T. Smith hits an eighteen foot off balance shot off the dribble from the wing as the second quarter buzzer makes its presence known to tie the game.
At halftime, the game is tied at 16-16.
Mason Smith has 5 points to lead the Carson City-Crystal halftime scoring.
J.T. Smith has 9 points to lead Montabella at halftime.
The Montabella Pom Squad comes out at halftime and does a performance using “Telephone” by Lady Gaga for the music. I really enjoyed their show. The show was choreographed and executed really well. Kudos to the Montabella Pom Squad!
For those of you who were not in the gym to see the show, I’ll let you enjoy (hopefully) this classic country piano video of “Rose of San Antone”! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAyGsC_FuNo
CCC inbounds the ball to get quarter number three underway. Drew Kelsey steals the ball for the Mustangs. Michael Husted steals the ball for the Eagles. (Your Bleacher Denizen feels for his wallet and is relieved to see that this theft spree is confined to the court!!) CCC ignores the Bleacher Denizen’s angst and fires up a threeball from the wing that misses.
Montabella throws a pass too high and out of bounds. CCC misses a driving reverse layup. J.T. Smith passes to Evan Judge, who is fouled on a layup. Evan Judge hits one of his two free throws to give the Mustangs a 17-16 lead with 6:39 remaining in the third quarter.
The rebound from the missed free throw goes out of bounds and Montabella gets the ball. Jacob Stevens gets his hand on the Mustang inbound pass and Montabella loses the ball out of bounds. Jacob Stevens passes to Mason Smith, who delivers a successful three point shot from the wing to give CCC a 19-17 lead.
Jacob Stevens gets his hand on another Montabella pass and knocks the ball out of bounds. The Mustangs retain possession. J.T. Smith passes to Drew Kelsey, who makes a post move and is fouled on a six foot shot from the baseline. Drew Kelsey hits one of his two free throws for the Mustangs. Mason Smith is fouled on a driving layup and hits two free throws to give his Eagles a 21-18 lead with 5:03 to play in the quarter.
Montabella misfires on a triple try from the wing. Evan Judge knocks the offensive rebound to Chase Burggren, who secures the ball for the Mustangs. Montabella misses a three point shot from the wing. The rebound goes out of bounds and CCC takes possession. Rayce Sackett knocks the ball away from CCC and Chase Burggren picks it up for the Mustangs. Austin Foster passes to Rayce Sackett, who hits a fast break layup to cut the CCC lead to 21-20.
Austin Foster steals the ball for the Mustangs. J.T. Smith hits a fast break driving seven foot banked shot to give Montabella a one point lead. Rayce Sackett’s tight defense leads to a CCC traveling violation. Montabella misses an eighteen foot shot from the baseline. CCC fouls on the rebound. Evan Judge inbounds the ball to Austin Foster, who hits a layup to give Montabella a 24-21 lead.
Austin Foster steals an Eagle pass into the lane. Montabella misses a fast break layup. Brayden Clark drives the baseline and dunks the ball for CCC. Montabella misses a ten foot shot from the side of the lane. Drew Kelsey hits a putback at the buzzer, is fouled and makes his free throw.
Montabella has a 27-23 lead after three quarters.
Montabella has the ball to begin the fourth quarter. Evan Judge passes to Austin Foster for a Mustang layup. Austin Foster gets his hand on the ball and the Eagles lose it out of bounds. Montabella is whistled for an over and back violation. CCC misses a long threeball from the top of the key. Montabella misses a jump shot from the free throw elbow. Austin Foster hits a putback to give Montabella a 31-23 lead.
CCC misfires on a threeball from the side. Brayden Clark pulls down the offensive rebound for the Eagles; he drives and hits a layup. Austin Foster hits a layup for Montabella. J.T. Smith steals the ball for the Mustangs. Cole Smith blocks a Mustang layup. Montabella gets the loose ball and then it is Brayden Clark’s turn to block a Mustang layup. The loose ball goes out of bounds and CCC gets the ball.
CCC misses a three pointer from the side. Jacob Stevens grabs the offensive rebound for the Eagles. Drew Kelsey knocks the ball away from CCC and Evan Judge picks it up for Montabella. Mason Smith steals a pass for CC and is fouled. He hits one of his two free throws to trim the Montabella lead to 33-26 with 4:18 left on the clock.
J.T. Smith drives and hits a layup for Montabella. Mason Smith drives and hits a layup for CCC. Cole Smith knocks the ball away from Montabella. This causes a wild scrum for the ball. CCC comes out with the ball and is fouled. The Eagles are fouled and miss the first shot of a one and one free throw opportunity. Mason Smith pulls down the offensive rebound for CCC. The Eagles miss a three point shot from the corner. Chase Burggren passes to Drew Kelsey for a layup that gives Montabella a 37-28 lead.
CCC misfires on a threeball from the side. Chase Burggren is fouled catching a pass and sinks both ends of a one and one free throw opportunity to give the Mustangs a 39-28 lead with 2:19 remaining in the game.
CCC misses a three point attempt from the wing. Montabella is fouled, but misses the first shot of a one and one opportunity. Drew Kelsey gets his hand on an Eagle pass and CCC loses the ball out of bounds. Gavin Reeder steals a Montabella pass. CCC is whistled for a traveling violation. Drew Kelsey is fouled and makes both ends of a one and one opportunity for Montabella. With 58.1 seconds to go, Montabella’s lead is at 41-28.
CCC misses a six foot shot from the side of the lane. Montabella runs the clock down. Austin Foster passes to Drew Kelsey, who hits a layup for the Mustangs at the buzzer.
Montabella wins this game 43-28 to remain undefeated in the MSAC.
Mason Smith led the CCC s scoring with 13 points. Brayden Clark added 7 points. Michael Husted and Cole Smith each scored 4 points.
J.T. Smith had 13 points to lead the Montabella scoring. Austin Foster contributed 12 points. Drew Kelsey joined his teammates in double figures with 10 points. Rayce Sackett tossed in 5 points. Chase Burggren added 2 points. Evan Judge had 1 point.