Bridgeport and Frankenmuth combined to put on a show Tuesday in a Tri-Valley Conference rivalry. The visiting Bearcats went home with the 69-59 win, but both teams were impressive. With the win Bridgeport improves to 3-0 and the Bearcats look more than capable of being a Class B power. And if that isn’t the case this year, then you can bank on it next year as Coach Eugene Seals throws out a very young line-up.
Headlining that line-up are brothers Charles Garrett (2018) and Markele Garrett (2019). Charles “Tre” Garrett is anxious to prove he is D-1 worthy and may have had the biggest chip on his shoulder entering last night’s contest, and it paid off as he poured in 33 points to go with 12 rebounds, and 4 steals. Charles put up points from all over the floor but was most dangerous attacking the basket where he excels at finishing through contact. What is appealing about both brothers is how hard they play, especially on the defensive end. Little brother, Markele made that evident with his 5 first quarter steals. Two in the first two possessions of the game to get Bridgeport rolling. Markele finished with 11 points, 7 steals, and 5 rebounds.
The Garrett brothers set the tone for the Bearcats with their gritty play but they also get plenty of help. Most notably from 6-6 Seth Buchanan (2018) and 6-4 Sirquarius Ball (2019). Ball is cut from the same cloth as the Garrett brothers, he plays with a high motor and is active on the glass. Buchanan has a pure stroke, and can be a match-up problem at 6-6. He had a big third quarter against F’Muth when Bridgeport was able to build a 10 point lead. In the 3rd Buchanan tallied 7 points but was also impressive on the job he did slowing down Mario Whitley with his long length. Jalen Rohelia-Jones (2018) is a smart point guard and seems to always make the right play.
Whitley, who for the most part had his way all night long. Whitley looks like a man on a mission and bullied his way to the basket every chance he got. The 6-5 wing has also improved his skill set showing off a handful of jumpers off the dribble. He was more natural in rebounding the ball and pushing it up court from years past. Speaking of rebounding, Whitley did plenty of that as he pulled down 14 rebounds to go with 31 points, 5 assist and 5 blocks. Midway through the first quarter Whitley picked up his 2nd foul but displayed a high basketball I.Q. as he played smart and was able to stay out of foul trouble without coming out of the game.
Some basketball guru’s feel Whitley is a one-man team, but that is far from being correct. Yes, the Eagles’ offense centers around Whitley, but the Muth has shooters all over the court making it hard to double Whitley. Grant Bronner and Jack Gilmour are both 6-4 and can score inside and out. Frankenmuth was also without returning starter Aaron Haubenstricker, who also stands 6-4, and is capable of a double-double any night.
Regardless of last night’s outcome both Bridgeport and Frankenmuth look to have big seasons as the neighbors continue to battle for the conference championship and prepare for March.