Balanced Buc cagers off to a good start

MRE Neal works against Grosse Ile during a Huron League match up. The Bucs lost the game, just one of two setbacks for coach Marcus Voelz’s team in its first eight outings. Photo by Larry Caruso


February was very good to the Riverview basketball team.

Not only did the Pirates get to start the season after a two-month delay, but they started it by winning five of their seven games in the month. As of press time, the Bucs were 6-2, following a 57-41 victory over Milan on March 2.

“It was a solid win,” said Riverview coach Marcus Voelz. “We played hard and we played with energy.”

The Bucs used a balanced attack in knocking off the Big Reds, with five players scoring seven points or more. Caleb Sullivan led the way with 14 and MRE Neal was right behind with 13. Ian Smith added 10, Landon Kincaid had eight and Jimari Moultrie had seven.

“So far, so good,” said Voelz about his team’s start. “We’ve had a couple of hiccups, but overall we have played hard and with intensity.

Neal, who has been a team leader for three years now, has stepped up in his senior year and is playing like a true point guard, Voelz said.

“His scoring average is down from 17 points a game last year to 14 this year, but his assists have gone way up,” said Voelz. “Everyone knows he can shoot and take it to the basket, now he is showing he can distribute, too.”

And it’s a good thing because this is a good team to distribute to.

Sullivan is having a breakout year. He is averaging 11 points and eight rebounds a game.

“He creates a lot of mismatches,” said Voelz. “He’s having a great year,”

The Bucs have four players – Sullivan, Smith, Kincaid and Jagger Kilburg – who are each 6-foot-5 and capable of dominating the interior.

“It is nice to have some length,” admitted Voelz.

The Bucs also have Moultrie, another three-year vet, who can go off at any time.

The Bucs have beaten Jefferson 108-85, Milan 57-35, Flat Rock 64-26, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 55-52 (OT) and Huron 67-52.

The Bucs two losses this season have been to Airport (58-41) and against Grosse Ile, when the host Red Devils hit 17 three-point shots and won 64-40.

“They are a well-coached team and they just could not miss that night,” said Voelz. “We are looking forward to playing them again.”

After beating Milan, the Pirates learned their next three games, against Huron, Jefferson and Flat Rock, have been cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns on those teams, meaning the Bucs have league game left against Airport, Grosse Ile and SMCC, who along with Riverview, are all still contenders for the Huron League championship.

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