But that was hardly just a side note to the best thing I’ve seen this season
By Marcellus C. Miller, Columnist
SWARTZ CREEK, Michigan — I have literally lost track of all the high school basketball games I have been to in my life. From sitting on my dad’s shoulders as a kid watching Glen Rice at Cobo Hall to coaching from the sidelines, I have seen a lot of them. However, I would be hard pressed to think of any one moment that topped the one I saw at Swartz Creek Friday night.
It wasn’t a JD Tisdale monster dunk (although there was one). It wasn’t a Max Cummings bomb from beyond the arc. It wasn’t Matt Romano going nuts for 28 points and a plethora of low post moves. It wasn’t even young Bryce Jenkins showing his growth while scoring in a variety of ways. No, it was a far bigger basket than that. It was one that reached further than the basketball courts and resonated in our hearts. It was the one shot and score by Swartz Creek’s Tristan Heinz.
On senior night, Tristan led the Creek team out onto the floor. He led the team on the shoulders of Tisdale in the pregame huddle. Tristan was announced as the final member of the starting lineup sporting red Creek shorts and a white #10 jersey. Barely reaching the waist of Creek’s tallest player, Shawn Brouwer, Tristan still looked like he was right where he belonged.
You see, Tristan lives with the condition of dwarfism that has stunted his physical growth. The look on his face in those moments told me his emotional growth was at 50 feet tall. Swartz Creek conceded the jump ball and first score to Kearsley in a prearranged move. That was followed by the best moment of the game. On his third attempt, Tristan sank a 10 foot basket to the delight of every attendee. I literally had chills in the moment and it struck me that it was indeed better than any moment I had seen in all of the games this year and maybe ever. I don’t know who originally came up with the idea, but whoever it was deserves a thank you from us all who were fortunate to be there. Coach Scottie Wright and Coach Paul Adas both deserve kudos for seeing this though as well.
The game was anticlimactic at best after that. Kearsley used a 20-point fourth quarter to pull away from Creek for the final scoring margin. Romano was a man among boys this night with his career high 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead Kearsley. Jenkins added 14 as well. Cummings led Creek with 18 points and 10 rebounds despite a nasty fall and hitting his forehead on the ground in the second quarter. That fall happened just after Tisdale returned from injuring his right ankle coming down from a dunk on a defender’s foot in the first quarter. Tisdale finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds as well. Cal Henry threw in 8 points in too.
– Tristan has been a dedicated team manager for Creek all year and this game was a just reward! Way to go everyone involved!
– Creek players and coaches wore pink socks to support cancer awareness in the game. A couple even wore pink shoes!
– Creek had an astounding 28 turnovers in the game. It may be more amazing that they were even close at all in this game.
– Half of Romano’s points came in the decisive 4th quarter.
– For the first game all year, Creek did not make a 3-point shot. Kearsley sank five of them.
– Creek has been bullied inside recently by penetrating guards, cutters, and big men. That will have to change or it will be a quick exit from the districts.