PINCKNEY — The Pinckney boys basketball team shot the lights out on Tuesday night — but had to sweat out a 57-51 win over Brighton.
That’s because the Bulldogs were dogged, pardon the pun, in pursuing the Pirates. This, despite hitting less than 30 percent from the floor while Pinckney was around 50 percent.
“If we left them open, or even when they weren’t open, they shot it well,” Pinckney coach Tom Reason said. “Even around the rim. Sometimes those guys were shooting through double-teams.”
But the Pirates (6-1 overall, 1-1 KLAA West) had a hot hand, one attached to guard Kyle O’Donoghue, who had 27 points while hitting shots all over the floor in the first half, then burying a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth and going 5-for-6 at the line down the stretch.
But, pressed for credit, O’Donoghue was eager to pass.
“My teammates found me in the right spots, Coach drew up the right plays, teammates gave me good passes, I got some good looks and cashed them in,” he said.
Brighton (2-6, 1-1) led early, 2-0 and 4-2, but the Pirates took it from there. Pinckney led by as many as 11, but couldn’t hold off the Bulldogs, poor shooting and all.
“We struggled keeping them in front of us (on defense),” Reason said. “I know they outrebounded us. I thought we were a little bigger than them, and this is the only time we’ll be bigger than someone, and they beat us on rebounding.”
But one rebound proved key, and it came off the hands of Chase Fuller as time was running out in the third.
Chase Chynoweth drove the baseline near the Pinckney basket, but his shot missed. Fuller grabbed the rebound and got a shot off before the buzzer. The ball bounced several times before falling through the basket to give Pinckney a 44-37 lead.
“That was nice,” Reason said of Fuller, who finished with 10 points. “He really stepped in and played well.”
The Pirates held off the Bulldogs when they had to, even late when Brighton had gotten to within four in the final minute.
“Brighton did a really nice job,” Reason said. “They had a good game plan. There were two well-executed game plans. Maybe we hit a few more shots than them, but it was closer than six points at the end. They were definitely ready for us.”
For Brighton, meanwhile, it was another learning experience for a young team that has two sophomores seeing extended time.
“We’ve been in every game but one,” said Brighton senior Noah Daberko, who had nine points in the fourth quarter and finished with a game-high 14. “We’ll put it together eventually and get a couple of wins.”