ALMA - The Cadillac Vikings came up just short in a heartbreaking 61-57 loss to Saginaw in Tuesday’s MHSAA Div. 2 State Quarterfinal game.
The Vikings led after the first quarter but a strong second quarter from Saginaw’s Taelor Lowery propelled the Trojans to a 33-28 halftime lead.
Cadillac answered back by starting the third quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 40-33 lead. The lead reached as many as nine before Saginaw began to shoot its way back into the game.
Back-to-back threes to start the fourth quarter by Saginaw’s Brandon MCune put the Trojans back in front 49-48.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the fourth quarter, but Saginaw took the lead for good on a step back jumper by DaRon Sherrman. The Vikings were held scoreless in the final two minutes.
“When you get fatigued the first thing to go is your mind,” said Cadillac head coach Ryan Benzenberg. “We were physically tired because we had to shorten our rotation a little bit. That pass that looks open and you float it instead of zipping it, that costs you. They made us pay for that, credit to them.”
Cadillac’s Charlie Howell led all scorers with 23 points. Lowery led the way for Saginaw with 16 points.
The loss puts an end to a memorable season for Cadillac. The Vikings finish with a 22-5 overall record and won a share of the Big North Championship along with district and regional titles.
“I think winning the Big North as the only [Division 2] school in our league, to win a Big North [title] two years in a row is something special,” said Benzenberg. “To validate last year’s run with a run like this, we went toe-to-toe with a team that’s perennially really good and if we make a couple plays we’re right where we need to be. So [I’m proud of] the perseverance and the relentlessness of our guys everyday.”
The Vikings will return a strong core next season but lose four seniors from this year’s team, including Jaden Montague, Davin Brown, Teegan Baker and Riley Wade.
“I told our kids, it hurts right now and it’s supposed to hurt. That means you cared about it,” said Benzenberg. “But a week from now when they’re on spring break sitting on a beach, they’ll be able to understand that the chapter that they wrote about this Cadillac basketball season is a really good one and I’m proud of them. They did a lot for our program.”