March 15, 2017TRI-CITY AREA — Almont earned their first number one district showing in 48 years, accomplishing the feat with a 42-38 victory over host Imlay City in a Class B championship matchup last Friday night.
The last time before that Almont celebrated a district title was during the 1968-69 campaign when they defeated Memphis,71-63, in Class D action.
With the decision, Almont improves to 20-3 for the season. Imlay City finishes at 15-8.
" I am so very proud of my team and the way they kept their composure throughout the district final game," Almont Coach John Hall observed. "We played a very talented and determined Imlay City team and it took everything we had in order to win the game tonight," he noted.
"Once again it was our effort defensively that allowed us to be successful. This team has proven all year how great they can be defensively. The support of the Almont student body and entire community was remarkable. Their passion and energy carried us though the entire district tournament."
On the opposite sideline, Imlay City Coach Don Gauthier was left wondering what might have been.
"Obviously we are disappointed in losing," Gauthier commented. "We struggled to make shots and you have to give Almont credit for that," he noted.
Almont's Clay Schapman drives to the basket as Imlay City's Jose Bartolomei Castro defends in a Class B district basketball title game Friday. photo by Kevin Kissane.
Last Friday's clash for district supremacy would prove every bit the battle most anticipated.
With a packed house looking on, Almont jumped out to a 7-0 advantage 3:26 in to the game.
Imlay City then bounced back, putting together a 7-0 run over the next 3:21. That made it a 7-7 contest with 1:23 showing on the first quarter clock.
The remainder of quarter number one would prove scoreless.
The next eight-minute stretch saw Imlay City net 11 points and Almont manage 10, leaving the former with an 18-17 halftime lead to protect.
When the action resumed, Almont struck with a 10-8 third quarter edge. That put the Raiders up 27-26 with 24 minutes elapsed.
Almont followed that with a 14-8 run over the next 6:58, staking themselves to a 41-35 cushion with 1:02 remaining.
Imlay City then countered with a 3-1 run over the last minute-plus, only to fall by a narrow 42-38 count when the final scores were added up.
Eric Conn (13 points, including three trifectas) topped Almont's scoring list that evening. He was backed by Austin Watt (seven points, featuring a trey), Zach Revoldt (seven), Ethan Hall (six), Chase Kapron (five) and Drew Revoldt (four).
Jose Bartolomei Castro paced Imlay City with 12. David Hart (11 points, with a triple), Griffin Schirmer (seven), Jordan Lesniak (seven) and Travis Gould (one) supported his performance.
Kevin Kissane has been covering high school sports for the Tri-City Times since 1985. When not standing on a field or court with his camera and notepad, he enjoys golf, travel and family. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of Capac High School, and is also a grad of St. Clair Community College and earned a degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.