The Portland Boys Basketball team scored only five first half points on Friday night and extended their losing streak to eight games as the cold, snowy weather seemed to follow them into the Ionia gym.
The Bulldogs swarmed the Raiders with a stingy, overwhelming defense that often saw two- and three-man traps that led to forced shots and turnovers by the Raiders and almost miraculously only two fouls called on the Bulldogs in the first half, which ended with Ionia leading 32-5.
Unless the Raiders came up with some hot shooting or Ionia would receive more foul calls, it seemed like the only thing left to question in the second-half was whether Ionia’s lead would reach 40 points and force the dreaded running clock to begin. The MHSAA rule require a “mercy clock” to run, without stopping except in the last two minutes of the game, if one team is able to build a 40-point lead. When Ionia scored on two free throws early in the fourth quarter, the scoreboard turned to 54-14, and the mercy clock began. Portland finally found the basket in the fourth quarter and scored 18 points, but it was way too little, way too late and the final score was Ionia 69-Portland 32.
Portland Coach Dave Pettit said after the game, “Their defensive pressure was a big difference. We never got comfortable running our offense with is a credit to them”.
The final score does not indicate how hard the Raiders played or their season long attitude of refusing to quit. It was just a poor night of basketball for them. They had lost at home earlier in the season to the Bulldogs, but the score was much closer 51-40. Ionia is currently nursing a 10-game win-streak and finds itself sitting on top of the Capital Area Conference White Division with a 6-0 record. Portland’s next game is at home on Tuesday against Lakewood. Ionia will put its win streak on the line next week with visits to Hastings and Charlotte.
Portland was led in scoring by Owen Russel with 9 points and a great defensive effort by Tate Dziewitatkowski. Ionia was led in scoring by the oft-shooting Brady Swinehart with 19 points.
Pictured above, Tate Dziewiatkowski inbounds a pass to Owen Russell following an Ionia Basket.