Perfect Wildcats are District champs

Haley Hagen •
The unbeaten Mattawan Wildcats remained that way through the District championship, snatching the trophy from St. Joseph, for the Wildcats first title since 2006.   Haley Hagen photoMattawan’s Luke Pelak soars above the DeWitt defense and everybody else for a shot Tuesday night in the Regional opener at Holt.  The game was a tight battle to the very end.   Haley Hagen photo

   MATTAWAN - The Mattawan Wildcats, hosting St. Joseph for a Division 1 District title game last week, trailed by five points going the final quarter, but pulled out a 42-37 win, and headed into Regionals with a spotless 21-0 record.
   With just three minutes left, seniors Dexter Shouse and Matt Pelak sank back-to-back three pointers that gave Mattawan a lead the Wildcats could hang onto for the remainder of the game and capture their first District championship since 2006.


   Tuesday night in Holt, Mattawan faced the 19-3 DeWitt Panthers. Playing a close game throughout, the Wildcats ran out of steam at the end, and lost their Regional opener, 51-38.
   Nolan Foster opened up scoring for the Wildcats with a short jump shot, followed by a long three-pointer not too long after to tie the game at five. His two baskets would be the only points in the opening quarter for Mattawan, who trailed 7-5, going into the next period.
   With time winding down in the second quarter, Mattawan was behind, 14-9, when Matt Pelak and Dexter Shouse cut the DeWitt lead to just one point, scoring a basket apiece before halftime.                             
   Mattawan returned to the court down 14-13, but took a quick lead when Foster scored a two-point layup, the first points of the half. DeWitt quickly an-swered with back-to-back three pointers, giving them the lead they would not relinquish.
   The Wildcats didn’t go down without a fight. Shouse secured a full court layup to line up Mattawan behind DeWitt, 23-18. Scoring would end in the third quarter with Matt Pelak taking advantage of a trip to the free throw line after being fouled on a layup.
   Just like the game before, Mattawan went into the fourth quarter trailing by only five. But, DeWitt outscored the Wildcats, 25-17, in the final period, ending  Mattawan’s pretty perfect season. 

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