SUTTONS BAY — Playing in its own house, Suttons Bay shot the lights out.
The gym lights dimmed noticeably right after the 54-47 Class D district final victory Friday over Traverse City Christian.
Perhaps that’s what happens when you hit 11 straight free throws in crunch time to lock up the school’s first district title since the 2009-10 season.
“That was incredible,” Norsemen coach Ron Anderson said. “With the pressure the kids were facing, it’s a testament to the kids’ concentration level.”
After starting the season 3-11, Suttons Bay (10-12) advances to play Bellaire (22-0) on Monday at Traverse City Central. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.
The Norse knocked down 12 of 13 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, holding off Christian’s charges.
“After watching them play Leland Wednesday night, we knew this wasn’t going to be an easy game,” Anderson said. “We had to come out and earn it. And we earned it at the free-throw line.”
With Aaron Orban sitting most of the first half with early foul trouble, Logan Mikesell’s 3-pointer with one second left in the opening half gave the Norse their biggest lead at 24-18.
“Our team really stepped up, hitting their shots and playing defense — without me or Adam Arroyo in there,” Orban said. “That really says something about our defense and how composed we are.”
And with Orban back in the lineup, Suttons Bay started the second half quickly, going on a 10-2 run capped by another Mikesell triple.
Christian rallied with its own run, reeling off a 15-2 run in the late third and early fourth to get within a point on Jesse Heerdt’s dunk with 4:18 remaining. That’s when Suttons Bay started making free throws with regularity, hitting 11 in a row, including four each from Orban and Cameron Tarlton.