Tuesday's preps: Ann Arbor Huron, Robinson blanket Bates to score win over Ypsilanti Lincoln
Ypsilanti – Ann Arbor Huron's Mike Robinson had to make his father proud Tuesday night at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center, making things tough on Ypsilanti Lincoln 6-foot-9 sophomore Emoni Bates, who is considered to be the top high school player in the country.
Robinson, a 6-7 senior and son of Mike Robinson Sr., a two-time Big Ten scoring champion for Michigan State in the 1970s, gave Bates little room to operate in helping No. 7 Ann Arbor Huron (19-1) to a 64-54 victory over No. 10 Lincoln (16-3) before nearly 5,000 spectators.
Robinson, who scored 25 in a 52-51 win at Kalamazoo Central Friday, had a strong all-around game (12 points, five assists, five rebounds) and stayed like glue to Bates in limiting him to 29 points on 8 of 27 shooting from the field, including 3-of-11 on 3-pointers.
Robinson even gave Bates a piece of his own medicine by making a step-back jumper on him for a 40-29 lead with three minutes left in the third.
“I was just trying to force him left and not let him get his shot off,” Robinson said. “He’s long. He can get the ball up over me easily, that was the issue. I just tried to stay close to him and contest his shots.”
So, what did the victory mean?
“It means a lot, it’s a good job, but we’re going to see them again in districts, so this isn’t the game that we need,” said Robinson, who has a 44-inch vertical and a 7-foot wingspan, which helped him defend Bates.
And, yes the game could well be a preview of next week’s Division 1 district final on March 13, which has been moved to the Convocation Center from Saline High School to accommodate a larger crowd.
Bates made his high school debut against Huron on Nov. 26, 2018 at the Convocation Center, living up to the hype with a 34-point, 15-rebound effort in an 80-69 win, scoring eight to rally Lincoln back from a 68-62 deficit as Lincoln ended the game on a 14-0 run.
But, history wouldn’t repeat itself in the rematch.
In Lincoln’s first meeting against Huron since Bates’ debut, Huron’s defense came up big to set the tone with 6-7 junior Kingsley Perkins blocking multiple shots, Huron’s quick guards forcing turnovers and Robinson playing strong defense against Bates, making it tough for him to finish at the basket.
Bates, who scored 63 in a double-overtime win over Chelsea last month, made multiple spin moves and other great dribble drives to attack the basket only to miss shots, missing his first eight shots from the field until making a 3-pointer for his first field goal with 50 seconds left in the half.
Bates made just 1 of 12 shots until catching fire midway through the third quarter when he connected on consecutive 3-pointers, then making three more baskets for a 13-point quarter to pull Lincoln within 44-42 and then made two free throws to open the fourth to pull even at 44-44.
But, Robinson scored on a three-point play (basket and free throw) for a 47-44 cushion and Huron led the rest of the way with Bates connecting on just 2 of 8 shots the rest of the way.
Julian Lewis, a 6-6 junior guard who has played the last two games after missing multiple games due to an injured right wrist, had 20 points and six rebounds for Huron.
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