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Hatchett’s 34 leads #12-ranked GR Danger to win over #6 K-zoo Pure

Jamel Hatchett is familiar with leading the Grand Rapids Danger to victory. But instead of dishing out the assists, the Danger point guard scored 34 points to lead the Danger to a 142-136 victory over the ABA‘s 6th-ranked Kalamazoo Pure on Saturday night at Grace Bible College in front of a packed house of crazed fans.

Derrick Brooks added 29 points off the bench as coach Chuck Johnson‘s squad moved to 10-4 on White Out night in Grand Rapids.

With a return to winter weather and the temperature outside in the teens, the Danger shooters were cold and the Pure got out to an early 13-3 lead. But the Danger kept their cool, something they didn’t do two weeks ago against Flint after falling down 9-0, and took control of the game. Joey Pelak saw his earliest playing time of the season, leading the Danger with 8 points as they finished the first quarter on a 36-16 run to take a 10-point lead at the end of the quarter, 39-29.

Grand Rapids was able to keep the lead throughout the second quarter behind Brooks’ 15 points and the Danger took a 73-60 lead into the halftime break, although K-zoo’s Jonny Wilhite(13), Jon’Tee Wilhite(7) and Terry Buchanan(16) worked their way to a combined 36 first half points. Brooks had 21 points at the half and Hatchett, an East Kentwood HS alum, had 13 by that point. IMG_3307

Jon’Tee Wilhite and Buchanan’s 17 combined points would keep the Pure in the game in the third quarter, but Jerell Sanders scored 10 of his 21 and Hatchett continued get to the rim. Grand Rapids gave up 38 points to Kalamazoo in the quarter and led by seven to start the final period.

Kalamazoo scored 38 points again in the fourth quarter, taking the lead midway through as Buchanan and Jon’Tee Wilhite added 15 points combined. But Hatchett and the Danger forced the issue of offensive aggression over the final 6 minutes, scoring 15 points at the free throw line. Hatchett scored 14 points in the quarter before fouling out with just over 3 minutes left in the game. A technical foul on Pure guard Quay Wilson with under 2 minutes to go for “f-bombing” an official cost the K-zoo squad a chance at tying the game late.

The win moves the Danger to 10-4 on the season, only 1 game out of first place in the North Central Division behind the now 11-3 Kalamazoo squad.

Grand Rapids continues its’ quest for an ABA title next weekend with games in Chicago on Saturday and Indiana on Sunday afternoon. The team returns home to Grace Bible College on March 5th at 6pm to take on the Lansing Sting in what is surely a key game for playoff seeding.

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