CASS CITY — It’s only natural to feel some butterflies the first time a team takes the court in the new season.
That may have effected the Cass City boys’ basketball team early in its first game Wednesday, but the Red Hawks didn’t let the nervousness last long.
Cass City used a 16-3 edge in the third quarter to propel it to a 50-26 victory over Mayville in the season opener for both programs.
After leading 11-7 at the end of one quarter, the Red Hawks began to pull away before halftime, taking a 26-15 advantage into the break.
“I think they just didn’t quite no what to expect,” said Cass City coach Tyler Erla. “I know they want to impress in the first game, so hopefully it was jitters and we get that worked out.”
Cass City lost its two leading scorers from last year — Sawyer Cuthrell and Parker Haire — to graduation, but brought back just about everyone else. Including a major post presence in forwards (6-foot-4) Logan Schenk and (6-foot-6) Cole Chippi. The duo led to Cass City grabbing a 38 to 17 rebounding edge.
“When you play a team like Cass City, the twin towers in there are tough to stop if you don’t box out,” said Mayville first-year coach Matt Walter. “I bet they had about 30 second-chance points so we need to shore up our boxing out.”
Schenk had nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
“He had a good summer, played well in our scrimmages, we’re looking to him being our guy that we go to,” Erla said. “He didn’t have quite have the points we wanted him to have tonight, but I thought he had an overall good game.
“He’s a load down low for sure.”
Chippi chipped in with four points and eight rebounds.
Senior Jared Hoag and junior Michael Redfield are the only two Mayville players that saw significant minutes last season. In addition, the Wildcats dressed just seven players Wednesday due to a couple of guys out with illness and a couple more struggling with eligibility issues.
Hoag led Mayville with seven points, but it was the play of Jeffrey Frost, a 6-foot-5 freshman, that gave Walter cause for optimism.
Playing in his first varsity game, Frost had six points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
“He’s never played organized basketball, he’s really raw right now,” Walter said. “But as you can see, he’s pretty good. And we’re going to keep working with him and he’s going to be special in the next couple of years.”
Cass City countered Mayville’s short bench with a nine-man rotation — many of which played key roles a year ago.
“We do have a lot of guys coming back,” Erla said. “But guys have new roles this year, so it may take a few games to figure it out. We have different leaders, different guys are going to be asked to step up and score more where last year they were more of a role player.”
One of those players is Brad Hacker, who led the Red Hawks Wednesday with 12 points.
Cass City next plays at Memphis Wednesday while Mayville’s next contest is Monday at home against Carsonville-Port Sanilac.