Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 23, 2013

Titans clinch share of Big North Conference title

By DENNIS CHASE
dcahse@record-eagle.com

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Kendrick Meyer picked a good time to play his best game of the season.

The 6-5 senior center scored a season-high 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds Friday night as Traverse City West upended Traverse City Central 66-54 to clinch at least a share of the Big North Conference basketball title.

The title share was made possible after Alpena upset Petoskey. West, Petoskey and Cadillac all have three league losses. The Northmen and Vikings still have a league game to go.

"Sweet," said Titans coach Brett Graham after hearing of the Alpena win.

The Titans were in a celebratory mood after topping Central to finish 9-3 in the Big North. Meyer played a pivotal role, scoring 10 points in a tightly-contested first quarter and eight in the fourth to keep the Trojans at bay.

Asked about his performance afterwards, Meyer cited several factors for what turned out to be a special Senior Night outing.

"The crowd, the anticipation, living in the moment, last home game of our senior year — we had to make it special," he said.

Meyer's emergence in recent weeks has been a boost for the Titans, Graham said.

"That's huge for us," he said. "If we can get that type of threat on a consistent basis, it adds a whole new dimension.

"This was his most efficient game of the year. I still think he can do better. But he's stepping up and becoming a big-time player for us. And we're emphasizing getting it inside to Kendrick because he's playing so much better, demanding the ball, and our guys quite honestly are doing a better job finding him."

Jeremiah Williams added 17 points and six rebounds for the Titans (12-7 overall). He had 11 in the second half. Donny Cizek contributed 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Ethan Pilarski led Central (5-13, 4-7) with 19 points and six rebounds. Tanner Kenney — a 6-7 junior center — added 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The Trojans trailed by just one, 17-16, after the first quarter. It was a six-point game, 34-28, at half.

The Titans expanded their lead to 11 in the third quarter and Central could get no closer than six the rest of the way.

"We always tell the kids, 'We've got to play hard.' I thought we did," Trojans coach Jeff Turner said. "We competed.

"We're sitting here at 5-13, but this shows the character these kids have. They continue to fight, continue to battle."

The Trojans never let West feel totally comfortable, even though the Titans led most of the game.

"I thought Central played really well," Graham said. "They out-executed us at times and did some great things. But we won — that's the important thing."

Like Meyer, Central's Kenney has turned his game up a notch, too.

"He's done some really good things the past couple weeks," Turner said. "He's starting to get himself in position (to be successful). He's understanding the game a little more. I think he has the potential to be a double-double guy all the time."

West won the JV game 58-53 in double overtime. Deion Dyal led the Titans (10-9, 7-5) with 21 points. Thiyo Lukusa added 14 points and Sean Grabowski 13 points and seven rebounds.

Jackson Schrameyer netted 16 and Lucas Rowe 11 for the Trojans.

The Titans captured the freshman game 53-31 as Jake Cerny tossed in 15 points and Josh Roman and Sam Alexander 11 apiece. Mason Houston scored 20 for Central.