(New Buffalo, MI) - The boys’ basketball team from New Buffalo High School racked up another blowout victory Tuesday night at Lawrence. The final score was 84-35.
A 6’9” center, Zack Forker led all Bison scorers with 20-points on 10 for 12 shooting. For the Bison, Jeremiah Mitchell and Kaden Parmley added 18 points and 16 points, who improved to 7-0 on the season.
Coaches for Lawrence and their fans were grumbling, accusing New Buffalo Head Coach Nate Tripp of running up the score during the second half. This year, other teams blown out by the Bison made the same claims, which has given the Bison a reputation as the “bad boys.”
Tripp vehemently denied he’s running up the score and vowed not to stop his players from being aggressive from start to finish. Tripp said he’s only preparing his players to be the best they can be so they’ll have what it takes to beat teams from larger schools during the regular season and post-season.
“I don’t want to intentionally embarrass a team, but I’m not going to tell my kids to go soft and to not play the right way. Those are bad habits that will form quickly,” he said.
The defending District 4 champs with all five starters from last year’s squad have already defeated Class A Sturgis and a talented South Bend Career Academy. This year, the mission for the Class D Bison is to go deeper in the state tournament after losing in the first round of the regionals last season.
The Bison are also accused of running up the score by playing only their starters. Tripp said he only has seven or eight players qualified to take the floor at the varsity level. He said coming off the bench against Lawrence were Forker, Landon Haskins, and Nick Peters, who all played anywhere from 17 minutes to nine minutes apiece.
Tripp said he expects other teams to elevate their level of play and deliver cheap shots to his players in response to not understanding that he’s only trying to get the best out of his primarily senior-laden team.
“I care that our guys learn to play hard and learn to play the right way and if that perception makes me the bad guy, and I’m public enemy No. 1, then I’ll take it,” he said.