Hancock boys edge rival Houghton to remain undefeated
HOUGHTON — It was probably a little more stressful than Hancock High boys basketball first-year coach Matt Strong would have liked.
But the Bulldogs remained unbeaten on the year Thursday night with a 41-37 win over rival Houghton.
“It would be nice not to play so close,” Strong commented. “But Houghton came out and played hard; they hit their shots and did a real nice job.”
The Crimson and Gold used their edge in experience over the young Gremlins to move to 4-0 (2-0 in the West-PAC) — a fact not lost on HHS skipper Jared Lawson.
“They (Bulldogs) have some upperclassmen,” Lawson noted. “That will usually show up in a close game. But our kids did a nice job of staying close.”
Leading 12-2 early in the game, Hancock saw their rivals rally back and even briefly take a lead in the third quarter.
But the work of seniors Hans Stimac, Mike McParlan and Chad Raasio pulled the Bulldogs through.
After HCHS grabbed leads of 13-4 and 16-13 after the first two quarters, the Gremlins took a 22-21 lead on a bucket by Chris Filpus midway through the third frame.
A 3-pointer by Stimac and a basket by the hard-working Raasio restored the lead by quarter’s end by a 26-21 margin.
Hancock appeared ready to move away again in the fourth after two inside hoops by McParlan made for a 38-28 lead.
Filpus, the game’s leading scorer with 15 points, combined with Ben Strong to spark a 9-2 HHS run that made it 40-37 with just 51 ticks left.
After his team missed a key one-and-one free throw, Raasio grabbed a key rebound with 22 seconds left.
One free throw by Reece Anderson with seven seconds to play finally put the lid on for Hancock.
“We were able to make some big plays down the stretch,” Strong said, adding that having a reliable player like Raasio is a “big plus.”
“He (Raasio) is someone you can trust all the time. He’s good on the offensive end and good on the defensive end.”
Stimac nailed four treys on the way to a team-high 14 points. Raasio netted 12 more points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked a handful of shots. McParlan added eight points and seven boards.
Houghton, 0-2 overall and in the league, received a nice game from Filpus, who had a team-high eight rebounds to go with his 15 points.
“We’re going to need Chris Filpus to lead us this season,” Lawson said. “He’s a senior with experience and we’re short on that.”
Strong was next with eight points and six assists, while George Butvilas had seven points and a nice floor game.
Hancock will host Jeffers Monday, while Houghton entertains Escanaba Saturday at 3 p.m. in a makeup game.
Hancock 13 3 10 15 – 41
Houghton 4 9 8 16 – 37
HANCOCK — McParlan 8, Anderson 4, Stimac 14, Raasio 12, Blau 3. FT: 5-15; Rebounds: 33 (Raasio 11); Fouls: 10; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Stimac 4, Raasio 1, Blau 1.
HOUGHTON — Sirard 5, Strong 8, Filpus 15, Butvilas 7, Wilson 2. FT: 5-8; Rebounds: 28 (Filpus 8); 3-point FG: Sirard 1, Filpus 1.