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March 26, 2011

Schoolcraft caps undefeated season with Class C Championship

When Schoolcraft head coach Randy Small said his sophomore guard Luke Ryskamp didn't recognize Mateen Cleaves, who congratulated Ryskamp after the Class C Championship game, the post-game laughter was abroad.

Many more are going to know Ryskamp after a performance like he had.

The underclassman scored 19 points on an efficient 9-for-12 shooting, pulling down 11 rebounds and adding seven assists to lead Schoolcraft (27-0) to its first Class C State Championship in school history, defeating McBain 73-59.

"He's [Ryskamp] a tough player," McBain coach Bruce Koopman acknowledged. "He's got a will to get to the basket."

Schoolcraft senior Kody Chandler (13 points, six rebounds) talked about the emergence of the sophomore Ryskamp as an impact player.

"If they're putting their best man on me, and their second or third-best defender on Luke, it's not gonna work," the senior guard said. "Last year as a freshman, he wasn't willing to come up and make those big plays. This year he's turned into a man."

Early on, it looked like McBain (25-3) would end the streak and pull away, leading by as much as 11 points in the first quarter. But Schoolcraft survived, and answered with a 12-3 run of its own before halftime.

The Eagles then came storming out of the gate in the second half, and outscored McBain 40-21 in the final two quarters. Regardless, a layup by McBain's James Johnson made it a one-point game with over six minutes left. That's when the Eagles put things in top gear, with a big 3-pointer by Chandler and several big buckets by senior guard Blake Krum to extend the lead and turn the end of the final quarter into a free-throw shooting contest.

Schoolcraft was also able to capitalize more efficiently on balls coughed up than McBain. Despite the fact that the Ramblers turned the ball over just two more times (15 total) than Schoolcraft, the Eagles' 14-0 advantage on fast break points was a sign of the athleticism that no Class C team could overcome all year.

After a stellar performance by McBain's Nathan Brown in the semifinal victory over Flint Beecher, the forward was held scoreless in the finale. Along with seven rebounds, the senior scored 12 points in the aforementioned game, including a game-tying basket to send the game into overtime, and an old-fashioned 3-pointer that sealed the victory and sent his team to the title game.

The Ramblers were led by senior center Cody King (15 points) and sophomore guard Jared Larr (14 points).

Krum finished with 16 points (7/10 FGs), as did Schoolcraft's senior forward Tyler Dow.

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