Kloss, Rams hover over Emeralds

MANISTIQUE – The Manistique Emeralds got off to a nice start against the Harbor Springs Rams in the Class C district finale Friday night, but they were outmatched by the Rams in the long run.

Harbor Springs had little difficulty working their way into the paint, and ran away with a 73-49 victory as well as the district title.

“I thought we played a really good first quarter,” said Emeralds coach Todd Kangas. “But we got a little bit tired in the second quarter, and our lack of depth showed. We just couldn’t get over the hump and make a run at them.”

Although the Rams clearly had the size advantage, the Emeralds were able to keep the pace at a comfortable level in the first quarter. Harbor Springs battled back and kept it close, but with a buzzer beater by Tyler Kangas, Manistique held an 18-17 lead.

The size mismatch became very evident in the second quarter as Harbor Springs drove to the hoop with consistency, and that opened up the perimeter for some three-pointers by Bennett Langton and Peter Lauer.

Manistique (6-16) was outscored 24-11 in the second, and headed into halftime down 41-29.

“Even when things didn’t quite go our way early on, we stuck to our game plan,” said Rams coach Geoff Morse. “We figured we had the size advantage, and our bigs are pretty good, so we had to go to that. I think we dominated on the glass pretty well.”

It was more of the same for Manistique in the third quarter. Spencer Kloss continued to break his way inside, drawing contact and knocking down big shots. He led all scorers in the game with 26 points.

“He really killed us, no doubt about it,” Kangas said. “Overall, they broke in a number of times and they made some shots.”

“They were pretty well balanced. We couldn’t focus on any one area of their game. But give them credit, we got beat by a better team.”

Kangas added that he is really pleased with the way his team stuck it out despite a tough season. He felt that although the score was lopsided, the two district games showed moments of brilliance, and it was a nice way to wrap up the year.

After the game, it was clear that the Emeralds were somewhat disappointed by the loss. But not a single member of the team showed their emotions, and they held their heads high as they walked off the court.

“I think our team has a lot of character,” said Kangas’s son Tyler, a junior. “We’ve been through a lot this year, a lot of ups and downs, but we always try to fight back harder.”

He added that the returning players have even more motivation heading into next season.

“We have a new goal set for ourselves,” he said.

Conner Selling led the Emeralds with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Harbor Springs (11-11) will take on Negaunee in the regional opener, Monday, at Escanaba. Negaunee dropped Gwinn 64-34 Friday night.