Different team, same result: Dollar Bay gives its all in semifinal loss to Southfield

Adam Niemi/Daily News (Iron Mountain) Dollar Bay-Tamarack City’s Jesse Kentala gives instructions to his team during a Division 4 semifinal game at the Breslin Center in East Lansing Thursday.

EAST LANSING — Dollar Bay-Tamarack City boy’s basketball coach Jesse Kentala is no stranger to the hardwood floor of the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing. In fact, it is quickly becoming an annual tradition for him and his Blue Bolts to make the nearly 500-mile trek south for the Michigan Division 4 basketball final four. They were there last year and they were there Thursday as the Blue Bolts faced the Eagles of Southfield Christian in semifinal action.

The Eagles was the same team the Blue Bolts lost to last year, 71-32, and, unfortunately, the outcome was the similar this year as Dollar Bay went down in defeat, 55-28.

“It was a heck of a run,” said Kentala in regards to his team’s return to the final four. ” I don’t think anyone expected us to be here. I am so proud of this group of guys.”

He said having played the Eagles a year ago certainly helped as they prepped for the game.

“I thought we were better prepared for them physically,” Kentala said. “I thought we were more in tune to they way they played and ran their push and their press.”

While the Eagles came out strong hitting three three-pointers after the opening tip, the Blue Bolts were right there with them, hitting shots and matching their intensity.

Drake Schmitz drilled a three in the opening frame as did Davin Hill for Dollar Bay. After eight minutes, the Eagles led 16-10.

Then things went awry.

In the second, the Eagles pulled away with an 18-6 run. They were led by Da’Jhon Humphrey who poured in 16 on the night and Jon Sanders who followed with 10.

It took the Blue Bolts a good three minutes before they could put just two points on the board. They gave up one two many turnovers that the Eagles converted into layups and then found themselves trailing, 34-16, at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Blue Bolts were only able to post five points. The Eagles were one and done on their offensive attack. They made it look easy. Thirty-six of their 55 points were beyond the three-point arc.

“They hit their shots and we didn’t,” said Kentala. “We picked the worst night of the year to shoot 22 percent. We couldn’t find the net.”

He added that his boys were worn out by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

“They have around 10 players who could come off the bench, we had only around five,” Kentala said. They put tremendous guard pressure on us the whole game and that just wore us down.

“We weren’t able to get much in the paint and when we did it was contested or blocked. They are a much better team physically than us.”

The Eagles will go on to play Frankfort for the Division 4 title on Saturday morning. Kentala and his boys are staying in town to see the title game. In his words, they deserve it.

“I am very proud of these boys and while I would have liked a better outcome, I am pretty proud of who we are as Dollar Bay,” he said.

Southfield Christian 16 18 13 8 — 55

Dollar Bay 10 6 5 7 — 28

SC: Scruggs 4, Carter 2, Humphrey 16, Patrick 6, Sanders 10, King 6, Rheker 6, Hines 2 Harahan 3; Fouls: 13; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Humphrey 3, Patrick 2, Sanders 2, Rheker 2, Harahan 1

DBTC: Schmitz 6, B. LeClaire 4, Janke 9, C. LeClaire 6 Hill 3; Fouls: 7. Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Schmitz 2, B. LeClaire 1, Hill 1