Jets soar over Eagles

Avery Bundgaard | Daily Press North Central’s Jason Whitens (30) skies for the offensive rebound over Stenphenson’s Ethan Brown during Monday’s game. Whitens led both teams with 25 points.

POWERS — The North Central boys basketball team are two time defending Class D state champions and they were in mid-season form Monday night.

The Jets dominated the Stephenson Eagles 87-19 in a non-conference season opener.

Jets coach Adam Mercier liked how his team came out strong and made a statement.

“We want to keep that momentum going,” said Mercier. “Our starting five did a good job of starting out fast and our second group came in and played well. All 12 guys contributed tonight and I am very happy with a quality win tonight.

Stephenson coach Eric Panske knew NC was going to be tough but also wanted to see better ball control as the Eagles turned the ball over 36 times.

“We talked about coming in that they would be athletic,” said Panske. “We definitely need to work on our passing. We talked about not passing the ball over the top against an athletic team and we did that consistently tonight.”

NC was all over Stephenson from the start as they played suffocating defense and forced 12 turnovers in the first quarter. They moved the ball at a fast pace as they were able to close out the quarter with a 32-4 lead.

Stephenson was better in the second quarter offensively as they scored eight points but the Jets increased their lead to 55-12 at halftime.

Last year’s Class D player of the year, senior Jason Whitens, had 17 of his 25 points in the first half. Senior Dawson Bilski also had a big night as he had 13 of his 19 points in the first half.

“We got some awesome players coming back,” said Mercier. “Jason and Dawson of course everybody looks at as guys we’re going to lean on but as you’ve seen tonight we got different guys who are going to step up.”

The game didn’t get any better in the third quarter as the Eagles were held to just two free throws. The Jets took an even more commanding lead of 70-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Jets sat their starters the whole fourth quarter but that didn’t matter as their second unit outscored the Eagles 17-5.

NC, which won the javee game 57-32, will host Rapid River Thursday and Stephenson will visit Carney-Nadeau Monday.

Stephenson          4    8    2    5   — 19

North Central     32  23   15   17  — 87

Stephenson – Maki 1, Tharp 3, Brown 3, Starzynski 10, Streeter 2; FT: 6-12; F: 16; 3-point field goals: Starzynski 1.

North Central – Schaff 2, Krachinski 16, Riley 3, Dombrowski 6, Bilski 19, Kleiman 4, Poupore 6, Whitens 25, Snyder 4, Jason Kirschner 2; FT: 12-21; F: 17; 3-point field goals: Krachinski 2, Bilski 1, Kleiman 1, Whitens 1.


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