The Mercer boys’ basketball team picked up two wins, including one in overtime, to help them get some momentum with playoffs around the corner.
They fell to Butternut 50-46 in overtime on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Then they hosted Drummond on Friday, Feb. 14. They won the game 41-39 in overtime.
They also beat non-conference White Lake 63-47 on Monday, Feb. 17. It was their first two-game win streak of the season. Not only that, but senior Kobe Hiller reached 1,000 career points in the game.
In a competitive first half against Butternut, the Tigers trailed by just two points. Butternut took a 25-23 lead into the break.
“We played great tonight,” coach Adam Miller said.
The Tigers were kept alive by 3-pointers from Baylie Huybrecht, Hiller and Davin Peterson in the first half. Together they combined for seven first half 3-pointers.
The 3-pointers cooled off, but the shots were there for the Tigers. Hiller led the team with 16 points.
Fouls played a factor in the ending. Both Peterson and Devin Losh fouled out with six minutes to go. The Tigers had a chance to go ahead with 20 second to go, but missed a go-ahead bonus free throw.
“We shut them down and took them to overtime,” Miller said. “We missed a 3-pointer to tie. Everyone played great.”
Peterson had the hot hand in the first half against Drummond, scoring 12 points, including three 3-pointers. While he made shots, the Tiger defense held Drummond to just 13 first half points. Peterson finished with a team-high 16 points.
The Tigers led 24-13 at the half.
Drummond made it a game in the second half, taking a four point lead. One of the Tigers’ go-to guys was limited in the game.
“Kobe was in foul trouble all night,” Miller said.
Baylie Huybrecht hit a 3-point shot to tie the game with 8.1 seconds to go. Drummond missed a shot at the buzzer and the game went to overtime.
Once again, Drummond led by four in overtime and then the Tigers tied it. In a tie game, Peterson hit a big 3-pointer and Drummond answered with a shot of their own.
Now in foul mode, Drummond fouled Hiller, sending him to the line with the Tigers up 40-39. He hit one of his free throws to give the Tigers a 41-39 lead. Drummond took a shot at the buzzer, but missed.
“The boys deserve it,” Miller said.
The Tigers were knocking down 3-pointers early against White Lake. Hiller knocked down two 3-pointers with a Baylie Huybrecht floater in between.
The Tigers took a timeout. They were leading the Lakers 12-7 with 9:34 left in the first half.
Coming out of the timeout, three different Tigers hit 3-pointers. Baylie Huybrecht, Peterson and Hiller all came out shooting on fire. Peterson and Hiller’s were on back-to-back possessions.
“It’s nice — the last three games Baylie’s been playing really well and Davin’s finally hitting shots just to get some pressure off Kobe,” Miller said. “If those three kids can continue to hit shots you never know.”
The Lakers took a timeout. The Tigers led 24-14 with 5:25 left in the half.
Baylie Huybrecht continued his scoring, shooting another 3-pointer and then a two on an offensive rebound. He finished with 13 points.
With under ten seconds in the half, Baylie Huybrecht garnered a rebound, threw an outlet pass and Kobe shot it to beat the buzzer.
The Tigers led 33-17 at the break.
“Everybody’s together now,” Miller said. “Today we played pretty well. Friday I’m still on a high from Friday — it was such a great game.”
As Hiller chased down 1,000 career points, he made two shots early. One was a drive right to the rim, assisted by Baylie Huybrecht.
Devin Losh made two straight scores, one of those a jumper that went off the backboard. Peterson followed that up with a fast break score.
Ryan Losh did some good work in the paint, making two free throws.
The Tigers were up big, 47-24 with 11:12 left.
Hiller put the final touches on an outstanding day. He scored two points on a jumper, giving him 996 for his career. Then he made two free throws. He was now at 998 points.
On an inbounds play, Hiller scored his 1,000th career point when Baylie Huybrecht quickly passed it to him for an easy layup. Hiller finished with 27 points on the day.
“It’s amazing. I didn’t think I could get it. It’s been my dream since I’ve been a little kid, and I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” Hiller said.
To top it off, he did it at home in a win.
“Oh, it’s awesome,” Hiller said. “I wanted to get it at home and I also wanted to get it in a win and it feels amazing to be at home with family and friends.”
The Tigers were up 56-27.
“Just to get Kobe a 1,000 points — he’s always been the number two, his freshman, his sophomore and junior year,” Miller said. “And this year being the number one and being covered and double covered and tripled covered and box and one it was nice to have Kobe get 1,000 tonight at home.”
Joe Laudolff made two points on a short jump shot as did Everett Valliere late in the game.
The Lakers did end the game on a 20-7 run, thanks to some 3-pointers from Isaiah Nieves. He led the team with 28 points.
The Tigers play at Hurley tonight starting at 7 p.m. with playoffs approaching.
“It’s going to take all of us to work together,” Hiller said. “I think we’ve been playing good as a team. Some guys have stepped up and I think teams are going to run into us at a bad time.”
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]