2009-03-19 / Sports

Chiefs end season for Bucks, 61-58

DRIVING IN Roscommon senior Cody Barnes drives to the basket during the Bucks District final against Cheboygan Friday night. The host Chiefs won the title on their home floor with a 61-58 win over the Bucks. Barnes finished with 10 points for the Bucks, who finished the season at 19-3 overall. (Photo by Sue Pinsoneault) DRIVING IN Roscommon senior Cody Barnes drives to the basket during the Bucks District final against Cheboygan Friday night. The host Chiefs won the title on their home floor with a 61-58 win over the Bucks. Barnes finished with 10 points for the Bucks, who finished the season at 19-3 overall. (Photo by Sue Pinsoneault) Roscommon's bid for its first District boys basketball title since 1990 ended at the hands of the Cheboygan Chiefs March 13 in Cheboygan, 61-58.

The Bucks carried a seven-point lead into the final quarter but the Chiefs plugged away to tie the score with just under three minutes left. From there, Cheboygan outscored the Bucks 6-3 to take the win.

"This was a great high school game with a tremendous atmosphere as both teams got up and down the floor. We were so close, but we couldn't hang on late. We had some lapses where we didn't execute offensively and couldn't get a stop defensively when we needed it," Coach M.J. Ewald said. "Cheboygan played a great game, but I'm really proud of my kids for never quitting and continuing to fight until the final horn."

DOUBLE TROUBLE Cheboygan's Trevor Closs (15) and Jordan Spohn (33) make it difficult for Roscommon's Jimmy Frye 21) to get a shot off with their swarming defense during District final action. (Photo by Sue Pinsoneault) DOUBLE TROUBLE Cheboygan's Trevor Closs (15) and Jordan Spohn (33) make it difficult for Roscommon's Jimmy Frye 21) to get a shot off with their swarming defense during District final action. (Photo by Sue Pinsoneault) The squads were neck-and-neck the entire game. Roscommon led 12-10 after the first quarter but Cheboygan outscored the Bucks 21-16 in the second quarter to lead 31-28 at the half. The Bucks had a big third quarter, posting a 17-7 advantage in the third stanza to lead 45-38 with eight minutes to play.

Senior Mike Alden had 18 points to lead Roscommon, knocking down two 3-pointers in seven tries. He also added three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Senior Garret Neville added 15 points, four rebounds and three assists while senior Cody Barnes had 10 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists, senior Jimmy Frye had eight points, junior Grant Carey had four points and seven rebounds and senior Sean Long had three points.

"Alden, Neville and Barnes (as well as the rest of the seniors) went out the right way; they never stopped believing and working as hard as they could," Ewald said. It was the final game for seniors Mike Alden, Cody Barnes, Jimmy Frye, Sean Long and Garret Neville.

"As much as this loss hurts, the kids have nothing to hang their heads about," Ewald said. "Alden, Neville and Barnes finished their varsity careers with some impressive numbers. They were 50-15 overall and 34-8 in the Jack Pine Conference with two JPC titles and a runner-up finish. The other seniors have one title, one runner-up and an overall record of 34-10 and a JPC mark of 23-5."

The Bucks were 19-3 overall this season.

"This group of kids was a joy to coach and that's the hardest part for us right now, knowing that we all won't be together again. It's bittersweet. The seniors this year did everything that we asked them to and then some. Their commitment to each other and to this program were tantamount to our successes. I love these kids," Ewald said.

With seven juniors returning next season, Ewald said his younger players benefitted from the squad's success this season as well.

"I would be horribly remiss if I didn't mention the growth that our underclassmen went through this season. They too worked incredibly hard to improve and were a huge reason we had such a successful season. Hopefully, they continue what the seniors have started by committing to getting better and working hard in the off-season," he said.

Another aide in the Bucks' success this season was its cheering section Ewald said, including the fans that made the 90 mile trip north for the District contests.

"I also would like to thank the community, both in and out of the school, for embracing these kids and supporting them. We had another fantastic crowd in Cheboygan; your support was huge this year" Ewald said. "Thank you, especially

to the Rosco Rowdies who were tremendous!" finals with win

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