Posted On: 01/17/18 2:32 PM

An intense matchup started with an emphasis on the star guards. Saline’s Griffin Yaklich (2020, G) created space on the floor by cutting through the Howell defense.  Howell’s Johnny Shields (2018, G) seemed to be the focus of the Saline defense and he proved worthy of that focus as he hit two early threes, giving Howell a 9-8 edge.  Saline gained second chance opportunities with their activity on the glass.  This helped them take a 13-11 lead after the 1st quarter.  In the 2nd quarter Trevor Arico (2020, G, Saline) found his groove scoring 7 points.  A late double foul ratcheted up the intensity on both sidelines.  The first half ended with Saline leading 23-19 in a slugfest.


The second half got chippy, as 12 fouls were called in the first 7 minutes.  Johnny Shields began to heat up for Howell, giving them a 37-33 lead.  Howell’s Kip French (2019, G) provided some key buckets.  Trevor Arico responded for Saline, scoring 5 straight points which gave Saline a 40-39 advantage.  Saline lead 43-39 when they were called for two technical fouls.  Shields went 3-4 from the line and tied the game at 42. Luke Russo (2019, Howell) hit a huge three giving Howell a 4 point edge.  After the teams exchanged free throws, Arico gave Saline a chance with a late triple. A last second three pointer came up short for the Hornets, as Howell came away with a hard fought 50-47 victory.


Johnny Shields is even better than advertised.

Shields is really talented.  He’s a poised shooter who recognizes a good shot and his range extends past the three point line.  Shields isn’t flashy with the ball, but he’s effective and smart keeping his turnover numbers low.  Division 3 and NAIA schools should see him play.

Howell is tough to stop offensively when Kip French and Luke Russo are playing well.

The game was tight throughout, but in the first half it felt like Saline was the better team.  The tenor of the game changed when French and Russo played better in the second half.  When they play well there are just too many shooters and ball handlers to stop.

Griffin Yaklich and Trevor Arico could become one of the best backcourts in Michigan. 

These two are both just sophomores, but they are very poised and have high basketball IQ’s.  Yaklich finds lanes to the hoop while Arico can fire from deep.  As they both improve and develop, they will be incredibly tough to stop.

Howell doesn’t turn the ball over. 

Howell just seems to have a plethora of ball handlers.  They don’t make silly mistakes and are all poised in crunch time.  Howell knows how to handle pressure defense and if given a lead, they effectively slow the game and make even a small comeback difficult.

Free throw shooting could have been the difference.

In a foul filled game free throws become critical.  Arico was solid from the stripe for Saline, but the rest of the team was too inconsistent.  Howell was solid from the line and that could have been the difference.