Game of the Week: Ionia boys holds off Portland rally to stay perfect

Bulldogs move to 2-0 in CAAC White play.
Ionia boys holds off Portland rally to stay perfect
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 10:12 PM EST
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PORTLAND, Mich. (WILX) - One of the early surprises to the boys high school basketball season has been the Ionia Bulldogs.

Or maybe just a team flying a bit under most radars as the Bulldogs moved to 7-0 with a 45-39 road win at Portland Friday night.

“I knew it was gonna be a good game. I think Portland’s kind of turned into our rival, you know the last seven, eight years,” Ionia head coach Scott Swinehart said. “We had a hard time taking out of their stuff but you know, we feel fortunate to come out on top and be 2-0 in the league.”

The Bulldogs were paced by their senior forward Miles Gregory, who poured in a team-high 16 points.

Gregory’s counterpart Lance Atkinson chipped in 14.

“I had open shots and I just took ‘em when they were open,” Gregory said. “They were falling, so, feels good.”

The Bulldogs trailed by two at the half, before blowing open the third quarter on a 7-0 run and holding an eight-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Portland clawed back into things thanks to sophomore guard Dominic Novara who hit big shot after big shot late, pouring in a game-high 18 points, as he helped the Raiders pull to within one with under 30 seconds left.

Ionia never wavered and hit enough freebies down the stretch to pick up their seventh win on the year.

“They were hitting some tough shots at the end and it was really hard to just like keep our heads up and just know that we were gonna have to find a way out but it felt good when we did,” Gregory said.

Ionia moved to 2-0 in the CAAC White division but will really get tested next Friday when a hot Charlotte team comes to town.

“It’s gonna be a good battle. They got a lot of guys back,” Swinehart said. “Our guys thought going in that they’re [Charlotte] gonna be one of the teams to beat in the league.”

As for Portland, it’ll try ending a two-game losing skid when Haslett comes to town Tuesday night.

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