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Defense helps Fremont beat Newaygo for second straight boys district basketball title

Packers’ 50-45 win on home floor sends them back to regional, where they’ll face Spring Lake.

Fremont is playing its best basketball at the right time. Defense is playing a big part in that for the Packers.

Fremont defeated former league rival Newaygo, 50-45, on its home court in front of hundreds of rowdy, red-clad fans in a Division 2 boys district championship game Friday night.

“Newaygo got out to a fast start, leading 10-3 in the first couple minutes of the game. After that, I thought our defense really picked up and we held them to only nine points for the rest of the half and led 24-19 at halftime,” Fremont coach Adam Bowen said.

“Our defense was excellent for the second game in a row and that was the difference in the game,” added Bowen, whose squad defeated Sparta, 47-44, in Wednesday’s district semifinal. “We are working so hard and communicating well on that end of the floor right now. I am so proud of these boys for how they have come together as a team this week.”

Despite the up-and-down season, Fremont captured a second staight district title and heads back to regional play. Fremont (11-14) will face Spring Lake (13-12) in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Allendale High School.

Spring Lake beat Fruitport on Friday, 42-26, to win the district at Orchard View. The Lakers knocked off unbeaten, fourth-ranked Whitehall 73-61 in overtime on Wednesday.

Newaygo closes the season with a 16-9 record.

“Fans and students from both schools packed the Fremont gym and were treated to a great game. We played great in the third quarter, outscoring Newaygo 16-7, and led 40-26 after three,” Bowen said.

“We did a good job of taking time off the clock in the fourth quarter and forced them to foul us. Unfortunately, we went only 8-for-16 from the line in the quarter and Newaygo hit some unbelievable shots to make the game close down the stretch.”

Fremont’s Chaz Miller put the game away with a pair of big free throws with 5 seconds left. Miller finished with 12 points and four steals.

Will DeBlake had 12 points and six rebounds for the Packers, while Gavin Richards posted his second double-double of the tournament with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ben Mellema and Kyler DeKuiper added eight and six points, respectively.

“We’ve worked through a lot as a team this year, and to have it all finally come together at the right time is great to see,” Bowen said. “We had very balanced scoring again, which is when we are at our best.”

Photos by Mia Milner for CatchMark

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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