Colvin’s hot shooting leads No. 2 River Rouge past unbeaten, No. 1 Flint Beecher, 66-61
WARREN — As hot as Nigel Colvin was Friday night, he was just hoping some of that carried over to Saturday’s game against unbeaten Flint Beecher in the 13th Annual Horatio Williams Foundation Freedom Classic.
And his coach, LaMonta Stone, was hoping he’d helped the River Rouge senior sniper save some bullets.
“We saved some for today,” Stone said of Colvin, who was 11-for-13 from 3-point range against Ecorse Friday night, including a state-record-tying seven 3s in the second quarter. “The state record was 15, and we didn’t know he had the record for the quarter, so all my assistants were saying ‘Put him back in, put him back in!’ And I said, ‘No, we’re going to save some of those for tomorrow.’”
Colvin was 5-for-7 from 3-point range Saturday evening, finishing with 17 points to help the Panthers, Division 2’s No. 2-ranked team, pull away at the end to beat the top-ranked team in Division 3, Beecher, 66-61.
“I just hoped a lot. I just got a couple extra shots in, in the morning, and I just hoped it carried over a whole lot,” Colvin said, noting he’s gone on hot streaks in practice like that before. “Yeah, all the time. I’m shooting with my teammates, it feels like that. But last night, I got a chance to perform, and show y’all what I could do.”
Colvin’s first 3-pointer of the fourth quarter put River Rouge (10-1, 4-0 Metro Blue) back in front for good, 55-54, while his second make it a four-point game at 60-56, nearly enough cushion to finish things off.
Where Colvin left off scoring, freshman Legend Geeter picked up, scoring six of his nine points in crunch time to seal the win.
“Legend’s probably the best player on our team, but I have seven seniors. So he’s a kid, and he defers,” Stone said. “I’m trying to get him to understand, ‘Legend, they’re OK … they’re OK with you being a really good player.’ But he’s a good kid, and I don’t think he wants to take their shine, but when the game’s on the line, I told him, ‘We’re coming to you.’”
Micah Parrish and Donavan Freeman both added 12 points for the Panthers.
It was hardly easy, though, as the Buccaneers fought tooth and nail in the loss, led by Jalen Terry, who had 21 points. Before Geeter put it away, Beecher had a pair of chances to tie the game.
“I just told our kids we were going to have to fight all night long. I told them the one thing about the River Rouge team — I coached a team like that before. They’re hurt, they’re hungry, and they play hard, because of what they’ve gone through. They’ve been to the Breslin twice, and lost. They lost their coach. You’re talking about a team that’s mature, that’s hurt, and that’s hungry. My 2012-13 teams were just like that. I just felt like this was a preview of us being able to help each other get to the state championship game,” Beecher coach Mike Williams said.
“I was proud of the way our kids fought back. We didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but you’re not always going to get the finish that you want to. But everybody can see how good we are.
We didn’t play but two seniors. My kids will learn from this. They’ll learn how hard they have to play, and how resilient we have to be, to get back to the stage we want to get to. …
“They fought like champions.”
Colvin hit a trio of 3s in the first half, as River Rouge built a 23-15 lead at the end of the first quarter against Flint Beecher (11-1, 5-0 Genesee Area Conf. Red), then stretched it to 12 points before the Buccaneers responded.
Terry drove to the basket for a three-point opportunity with 5:09 left second quarter, sparking a 16-4 run that saw Beecher erase every bit of its deficit, and take a lead before the half. The foul on that three-point play was on Danny Few, his third, sending him to the bench, an absence that coincided with Beecher’s run.
“They’re a tough team, they’re a championship team,” Colvin said. “We weren’t expecting them to roll over, we were expecting them to punch back.”
The game went into the half tied at 37-37, just where Stone wanted it.
“I knew they were going to. I felt as long as it was close at halftime, we would be OK, because I needed to make some adjustments. I didn’t want to make them on the fly. So I knew that if we (kept it) a one- or two-point (game), I knew our adjustments at halftime were going to come into play,” the coach said. “I kept the 1-3-1 (zone) in my pocket, and we needed to make an adjustment on the press. So those two things helped us.”
The game went to the fourth tied 47-47, and neither team could pull away until Colvin’s 3s gave the Panthers some separation.
“It (the zone) took us out of rhythm. When we have kids that are so young, they don’t recognize it right away. It cause a couple of turnovers, and was a great coaching move my him. Our press hurt them. It was a tug and pull. The game could’ve gone either way,” Williams said.
“I’ve got so much love for coach Stone. We haven’t played Rouge since he’s been there (the first time). When he got the job, I said ‘We gotta get back together, to help each other get to the finals.’ I gotta love for him, and that program. Our communities kind of mirror each other. That’s a historic program, and this was a great game tonight. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”