Report by Blake Smith
The Melbourne Bearkatz hit the road Friday night, taking on the Salem Greyhounds in a game with huge postseason implications. The Katz got off to a slow start but used a 10-2 run to end the first quarter and gather momentum.
The second quarter continued the successful swing, as Layton Hennings banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the team momentum and a 34-27 halftime lead.
The third quarter started like the first, however, and the second half was filled with Salem’s attempts to get back in the game, but could never tie or take the lead, as the Katz made just enough free throws to pull away late, winning by a final score of 59-55.
Hennings led Melbourne with 22 points, 18 of which came in the first half.
With the win, the Bearkatz claim a share of the conference championship for the first time since the 2013-14 season, earning a bye to the semifinals of the district tournament, and ensuring their first trip to the regionals since 2015.
The Katz record now stands at 16-9, 11-3.