The Orchard Lake St. Mary’s boys basketball season came to a close, but not before a little redemption.
The Eaglets fell to Saginaw High 62-42 March 20 in a Class A quarterfinal.
“I thought we played hard, but we just didn’t knock down shots. We had open looks, but couldn’t get them to fall,” St. Mary’s coach George Porritt said. “In the inside game, Saginaw did a great job of alternating our shots, too. We had to hit all of our shots to have a chance last night. Defensively, we played well, but we lost to a great basketball team.”
St. Mary’s found its footing in the postseason. It entered the playoffs at 10-10 overall and finished 14-11 overall, including a win against Novi Catholic Central for a regional championship.
The Shamrocks had beaten St. Mary’s twice in the regular season.
“The Catholic League was so darn tough this year. We lost one of our top players in the first league game of the year and lost some confidence,” Porritt said. “We just needed a restart and get some confidence.”
The Eaglets have won four regional championships since 2006. The coach attributes much of that to the mentality that it is a brand-new season in the playoffs.
“The big thing is we’re back to being 0-0, and it’s a new season,” Porritt said. “We, as a coaching staff, have done a pretty good job telling them that what happened before really doesn’t matter. Even if we won a league title, we have to start all over again, and sometimes that’s all a team needs.”
The Eaglets say goodbye to seniors Mason Porritt, Ethan Woelke, Chibunna Ukandu, Daniel Furlong and Justin Barrows.
“I’ve been fortunate to coach football teams that won state championships and great basketball teams. This was as satisfying as any three weeks of coaching I’ve had,” Porritt said. “I had great kids that responded by bouncing back. When you see a team grow up and battle, sometimes that more rewarding than winning all the time.”