by Richard Lamb—Advance Editor
Going where no Onaway team has gone before, the Onaway Cardinals boys’ basketball team is heading to the Class D quarterfinals. The Cards will face Powers North Central, a consolidated district west of Escanaba, Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Sault Ste. Marie High School.
The Cardinals topped Pickford 74-59 in the St. Ignace regional final to advance further in the MHSAA tournament than any Cardinal boys’ basketball team in school history.
“It is incredible. It is unreal. The feeling is hard to explain right now. We know we are one game away from the Breslin Center. This is what we’ve worked for,” said coach Eddy Szymoniak.
Onaway built a 20-point lead after the third quarter, thanks to some hot shooting. The Cards scored 24 points in the frame, highlighted by five 3-pointers. Trevor Wregglesworth and Joe Sigsby had two each and Cortez Washington added one.
But as hot as the Cards were in the third, Pickford caught fire in the fourth. Led by 6-foot-6-inch Derrick Edington’s nine points of his game-high 33 in the frame, the Panthers ran off 12 straight points to cut the Cardinal lead in half. With the score at 67-57 with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter, coach Szymoniak called timeout to tell his team to slow it down a bit.
“That is the problem with these guys. They are so full-speed and gung-ho there is no stopping them. That’s hard to do as a coach. There is a time and place where you have to slow it down. They did a great job,” Szymoniak said.
The team responded by holding Pickford to just two more points the rest of the way.
Sigsby led the team with 25 points, including three, 3-pointers and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line. Washington scored 16 points, Wregglesworth added 12 and Billy Moran scored seven.
Onaway connected on 14-of-23 from the line while Pickford hit on 8-of-10.
Onaway got out to a fast start, jumping out to an 18-6 lead, after Sigsby nailed a drive at the 3:40 mark of the first quarter. Morgan McLean’s triple from the top of the key made the score 22-8 with 1:52 left in the first. Onaway led 24-15 at the end of the first quarter.
Keyed by Edington’s 13 points, Pickford made a charge in the second quarter, but the Cardinals answered by increasing the lead to 41-30 heading into the second half.
Powers North Central (PNC) combines the small communities of Hermansville, Powers, Spalding and surrounding townships west of Escanaba. PNC is the defending state champions in boys’ basketball and won the eight-man state championship in football last fall.
In district basketball action, PNC defeated Bark River Harris, 77-38; Wilson Na Tah Wahsh 113-25; and Felch North Dickenson 75-45. In the regionals, they topped Lake Linden Hubbell 79-54 and Crystal Falls Forest Park 75-45.
Other quarterfinal games have Wyoming Christian playing Adrian Lenawee Christian at the Coldwater quarterfinals and Waterford Our Lady playing Marine City Cardinal Mooney at the West Bloomfield quarterfinals. The winner of the Onaway vs. PNC quarterfinals plays the winner of the Bellaire vs. Fulton quarterfinal being played at Traverse City West High School.