EAST JORDAN – Sometimes it's just your night.
On this particular Thursday, it ended up being a night to remember for Connor Gibbons.
The Cheboygan senior guard delivered the best shooting performance of his career, knocking down eight 3-pointers and finishing with a game-high 26 points to help fuel the Chiefs to a 72-55 victory over East Jordan in a non-conference boys basketball road clash.
“I don’t know what you can say because he’s a little dinged up right now, he doesn’t have two solid legs under him, and he just came out and it was pretty crazy,” said Cheboygan coach Jason Friday. “The amazing part was they really weren’t contested threes – he was pretty open. Connor just found the open spot, and there were a couple where the defenders were close to him, but for the most part, he found the open spot, found space, the boys found him, and Connor just kept knocking them down.
“This goes to show you how unselfish our team is because they realized that Connor’s making shots, so we’ve got to keep getting him the ball.”
The first half was an excellent shooting display from Gibbons, who made seven threes and connected on five of those in the second quarter alone.
As a result, the Chiefs (1-1) avenged a season-opening loss to Ogemaw Heights on Tuesday and followed it up with a rock-solid display.
“I don’t really think they dwelled on that game from Ogemaw all that much because that’s the way this team is,” Friday said. “They get ready for the next game and they think about the next play, not the previous play, and that’s what you’ve got to have, and it was fantastic to see those boys happy. All those kids on the bench up celebrating. The kids that weren’t in the game, they were treating our kids like they were their biggest fans, and that was from the bench.
“It was pretty fun basketball to watch.”
While Gibbons was Cheboygan’s star of the night, the Chiefs received help from many others, including junior Brennen Thater, who scored 18 points, as well as fellow junior Kaleb Goodrich, who also hit double figures with 10 points. Dylan Balazovic nearly hit double digits by netting nine points. Caden Gardner scored four, Ethan Gibbons had three, and Daniel Hudson added two for the Chiefs, who led 43-33 at the half and 57-46 after three quarters.
Overall, Friday was thrilled by the play of his team.
“I thought the kids made some really good decisions on when to drive, when to kick, and it was great to see,” Friday said. “Anytime you make a shot it’s great to see, but just the other guys getting involved. Dylan (Balazovic) did a great job on the boards, (Brennen) Thater did a great job on the boards, Caden Gardner did a great job on the boards, and I thought Daniel Hudson, little Daniel, he was mixing it up and getting on those boards as well.
“We gave up 33 points in the first half, but we said at halftime, ‘If you want to win this game, you’re going to have to clamp down on defense and get some more rebounds.’ If you go back to our first game against Ogemaw, we were outrebounded by 33. You’re not going to win those games, but we only gave up 22 points in the second half, which is great.”
In the junior varsity game, Cheboygan suffered a 41-32 defeat to the Red Devils. Owen Kimbrell led Cheboygan with 12 points, while Carson Kiefer scored eight, Jack Ekdahl tallied six, and Andrew Kiefer, Sam Brown and Luke Lafrinere chipped in with two apiece.
Cheboygan heads to Newberry for its Straits Area Conference opener on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Ferraiuolo, NMCA stay unbeaten with first road win
CADILLAC – Winning on the road is never easy.
In their first road clash of the season, the Burt Lake Northern Michigan Christian Academy girls basketball team was locked in a battle with Cadillac Heritage Christian.
But thankfully for the Lady Eagles, they did just enough to remain unbeaten on the campaign by earning a hard-fought 41-38 away triumph on Thursday night.
The Eagles (4-0) were led again by senior guard Brooke Ferraiuolo, who finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
“Our first road game of the season, and it was a fight from the opening tip, no team was ahead by more than five the entire game,” said NMCA coach Josh Ferraiuolo. “We weren’t very efficient, missed a lot of shots close to the basket, but that also is because of the defense as well. We entered the fourth (quarter) down by three, but we were able to claw our way back at the end, then I was able to play keep away with Brooke (Ferraiuolo) handling the ball, and sealing the win at the line when they were forced to foul her. It was nice to make just enough plays to win, I wasn’t sure if we had enough experience to do that.
“It was a fun test.”
Also chipping in for NMCA was Addie Pietrowski, who had 10 points and five steals, and Shanna Ferraiuolo, who tallied eight points.
NMCA returns to Northern Lakes Conference action when it travels to Boyne Falls on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
Cheboygan 8th grade boys trounce Petoskey on road
PETOSKEY – The Cheboygan Middle School 8th grade boys basketball team kept up its winning ways by rolling to a 52-28 victory at Petoskey on Thursday.
Nolan Schley had a game-high 23 points to lead the Chiefs, while Gavin Smith reached double figures with 18 points, Wyatt LaRocque scored six, Landon Gahn added three, and Killian Miller chipped in with two.
This article originally appeared on Cheboygan Daily Tribune: Cheboygan Area Basketball Roundup