2017-02-16 / Sports

Raiders clinch Metro League basketball crown

By Sports Staff


Flushing’s Joe Kujat, shown here earlier this season against Swart Creek, had 14 points and 16 rebounds on Tuesday against Linden. He also had 26 points and 14 rebounds against Brandon last Friday. 16 
Photo by Todd Boone Flushing’s Joe Kujat, shown here earlier this season against Swart Creek, had 14 points and 16 rebounds on Tuesday against Linden. He also had 26 points and 14 rebounds against Brandon last Friday. 16 Photo by Todd Boone LINDEN – The Flushing boys claimed their second straight Flint Metro championship with a 65-34 win over Linden. The Raiders jumped out to a 16-5 lead after one and increased the advantage to 19 at 35-16 by outscoring Linden 19-11 in the second.

Flushing outscored the Eagles 20-8 in the third and tied them in points in the fourth at 10-10. Joe Kujat had 14 points and 16 rebounds as Flushing had 11 players hit the scoring column.

“Tonight was exactly what the doctor ordered for Flushing basketball,” Flushing coach Adam Smith said. “We’ve hit a lull the past few games and tonight we were able to pick up the intensity and had some shots fall for us.

“We’ve struggled from the field the past few games and tonight we were able to click on both ends of the floor. We put an emphasis on playing ‘team defense’ and the guys really fought hard on that end of the floor – giving up just two 2-point baskets over the entire night.”

Flushing is feeling pretty stingy this season and needed just one more win to claim the Flint Metro League title outright. After edging out Ortonville Brandon on Friday 47-45, the team had no plans to share this title and has three games left with a three-game lead on the opposition.

“We sealed a share of the conference championship with this win but we have no plans to ‘share’ it with anyone else,” said Smith. “We are three games up with three to go. We just need to win one of them to secure our back-to-back championship… which could happen at home on Tuesday vs Linden!”

It was a tight game from start to finish with the game knotted at six apiece after one quarter and Brandon led by a single digit 18-17 after two. Brandon then outscored Flushing 19-15, but Flushing flipped the script in the fourth with a 15-8 performance that likely left a bitter taste in Brandon’s mouth.

“Brandon came out with a game plan to slow things down and shorten the game by holding the ball on offense,” said Smith. “We haven’t been shooting the ball particularly well as of late so that didn’t help take them out of their ‘stalling’ efforts.

“We were forced to play differently than we’ve had to all season long. Saying that, we relied heavily on a couple of bench guys to come in and play solid minutes that sparked our win.”

Smith noted that with 45 seconds left on the clock, Flushing received the ball and ran the base offense until Tyler Jamison drove to the bucket and took a shot with three seconds left. The shot rolled out and big Joe Kujat was right there to tip it in with no time remaining.

“I was most proud that we didn’t crumble under the pressure late in the game,” said Smith. “We were very frustrated throughout the night but the guys stayed together and trusted each other and we walked away with a win.”

Kujat finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds.

Flushing play at Clio Friday. — L.P./ KW.

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