Fowlerville, MI.- On Wednesday night in a hard fought, back and forth battle it was the Williamston Hornets coming out victorious over the Marshall Red Hawks for a 48-40 victory and their third Regional Championship in a row.
Marshall won the tip but it was Hornet senior Frankie Toomey scoring the first points of the game after sinking a deep 3 pointer from the right of the arc. Marshall then was able to run off 7 quick points as the Hornets shots just weren’t falling. After the first, the Red Hawks had a 7 point lead.
But as they’ve done all year the Hornets battled back forcing turnovers and bad shots and tied the game up quickly and took a 17-15 lead into the half. Both teams were playing solid defense and it was a clean first half as very few fouls were called.
The Hornets came out in the third completely energized as Head Coach Tom Lewis had his boys fired up. Both teams exchanged baskets but Toomey stole the ball and was fouled hard and knocked to the floor with .3 seconds left in the period but the tough senior guard was able to step right up and sink both free throws to give the Hornets a 3 point lead entering the final stanza.
“Coach (Lewis) said at the half that we were being played out physically by them,” Toomey said. “He said we needed to step it up and our energy was low.”
Up until this point of the game, both teams exchanged leads with the Hornets biggest lead being 5 points while the Red Hawks biggest lead was 7. With 2 and a half to go Williamston got a huge boost and a 4 point lead after a long 3-point shot from Case Conley found it’s mark. With time running out and Marshall unable to convert on their shots thanks to a smothering Hornet defense, they were forced to go into foul mode and hope for misses and rebounds. But the Hornets were near perfect from the line and were able to pull out the big victory.
“This 3peat is a great feeling especially since it’s my senior year,” said Toomey, who finished with 6 points and 3 steals.
“Right now our goal is a state championship, winning this 3 years in a row is a great feeling,” Hornet Senior guard Cole Kleiver stated after the game. “We’re really trying to enjoy this, not a lot of teams get this opportunity. But we’re on a mission”
Kleiver led all scorers with 19 points while Williamston big man Sean Cobb had 15 points and 7 rebounds and 2 big blocked shots. Wyatt Crow led Mashall with 12 points.
Williamston, 20-2 and the 20th ranked team in the state will head to Ionia High School on Tuesday and take on the 2nd ranked team in the state, the Benton Harbor Tigers. The Tigers, 24-1 on the season, defeated Dowagiac 67-57 on Wednesday in their Regional Championship . Tip-off is 7 P.M.