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Ann Arbor Pioneer won its seventh straight game, defeating visiting Saline 57-41 in a Southeastern Conference boys basketball game Wednesday night.

Pioneer’s last loss was on Dec. 29 to a talented Wayne Memorial team.

Head coach Rich Marion believes his team has improved a lot since that loss.

“We have certainly been getting better since Christmas break, our defensive intensity is what we have hung our hat on,” Marion said.

That defensive intensity helped Pioneer (14-2, 7-0) secure the win.

In the third quarter Saline cut the deficit to four.

“When Saline made their run in the third, we really kicked it up a notch on the defensive side,” Marion said.

That intense defense sparked Pioneer’s shooting, as senior Drew Lowder led the way with 22 points. Fellow seniors Alex Cunningham and Aidan Wright both scored 12.

Griffin Yaklich led the scoring for Saline with 11 points.

Marion credited Saline’s effort.

“Saline played tough from the first to the last quarter and that was a hard-fought game,” Marion said.

Heading into postseason play, Marion wants his team to focus on three areas.

“Limiting turnovers, being more consistent on defense and executing in our half-court offense,” Marion said. “If we improve in those areas, we will keep getting better as a team.

Pioneer will take on crosstown rival Ann Arbor Huron at 7 p.m. Friday.

More boys basketball

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 54, Ann Arbor Greenhills 52: Jordan Benson scored 16 and Alex Finney hit the winner at the buzzer and had 11 points for Cranbrook (12-4, 7-3 Catholic League). Drew Such scored 16 for Greenhills 12-3, 7-3.

U-D Jesuit 67, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 46: Daniel Friday scored 23 and Caleb Hunter 12 for U-D (14-2, 8-0 Catholic League Central). Orchard Lake is 10-6, 4-4.

 

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