Pride and character are the things Saginaw Arthur Hill Coach Greg McMath has instilled in his team. Their hardwood match-ups this past week caused them to call on both of those traits. The Lumberjacks endured a grueling schedule on the road. Tuesday they played a nail-biter at Flint Carmen-Ainsworth, losing 59-57. Friday they played a thrilling game against the #1 team in Class B (and a top ten team regardless of class) at Detroit Country Day. Arthur Hill lost 74-73 after being down by 19 points heading into the final quarter of play. (For GBW's story on that game, click here). Arthur Hill finished their run through the gauntlet Saturday night against Romulus
Nate Oats' Eagles went into the game ranked #7 in the state. After losing a heartbreaker the night before, Arthur Hill could have come in on a down note, but they came out of the gates hard. The visitors pressed all over the court and gave Romulus trouble on their way to a 16-14 at the end of the first quarter.
This marked the second night in a row (and fourth time this season) that we have seen Darquavis Tucker play, and he continued to impress with his vintage power game. The 6-4 inch sophomore took over in the second quarter and had close to 4 dunks. He scored on put backs and driving to the basket, as his team took advantage of the numerous defensive lapses on the part of the home team.
Jerret Smith sitting down with 3 fouls in the second certainly hurt the Eagles, but not as much as their turnovers and easy baskets in transition that they gave up. The Lumberjacks took advantage of the breakdowns and increased their lead to double digits, 38-28, by halftime
The third quarter was more of the same for Romulus, as the Lumberjacks held a 54-45 lead heading into the final period. However, in the fourth quarter the Eagles started to get on track. They fought all of the way back to take a 64-62 lead, and then extended it to 67-62 on a Jerret Smith three. On Arthur Hill’s next possession, Dar Tucker, who seemed as if he was everywhere, canned a three to bring it back to cut the lead to two (67-65). The two teams had battled to a 70-70 tie when Arthur Hill junior D.J. Carroll hit a three with 15 seconds on the clock. That proved to be the nail in the coffin, as the Lumberjacks held on for the 75-73 victory.
Jerret Smith and Avery Stevenson each scored 22 points for Romulus. Dar Tucker, who did everything for his team on the night, poured in 40 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, had 5 assist, and 5 steals. After the game we spoke with Coach McMath about his teams big victory and the challenging week that they just played through.
Look for comments from Dar Tucker later in the week.
Coach Greg McMath
Tough week and a big time win tonight Coach McMath. Can you comment on your team's performance?
"Yeah it was a big time win tonight. I talked to my guys before it got started this week. We are very young and very raw and I told them this week will show you what type of character you have. We went down to Ainsworth and battled them and lost by two. Then we went to Country Day and battled back after being down by 24. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. We came here tonight and beat a tough Romulus team. After the week we had it showed a lot of pride and character to come in here and win."
Would did you think of Demarcus (D.J.) Carroll who hit that clutch three tonight?
"We just tell Demarcus to knock it down when you get it. We know we have a star in Dar Tucker and we just tell the guys to make the play when it is your turn."
Can you talk a little about the performance of Darquavis Tucker tonight?
"Some performances don’t need comments. He just came out and played big time tonight. The kid has a chance to be special. We just have to keep working with him. He has a lot of things to work on but I am proud of his performance tonight."