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MUSKEGON, Mich.-- The signs of struggle were written all over the face of Mark Weems Jr.
The star Seton senior guard had four stiches and special bandage taped to his left eye, the result of a second quarter collision that forced him out of the game for five minutes. It also testified to the valor in what was ultimately a disappointing finish for the Sting.
Seton valliantly fought back from a 13-point third-quarter deficit only to falter down the stretch in its 64-57 loss to Michigan power Romulus in the Muskegon Shootout Classic here on Saturday afternoon.
Weems Jr. scored 17 points and added four rebounds, three assists and two steals to lead the Sting (10-8). Amazingly, he performed at a high level despite feeling out of equilibrium from the hit he took with just over six minutes to play in the second quarter. “I definitely felt a little dizzy out there,” he said.
Injuries to Weems Jr. and senior forward Alex Foster played a pivotal role, along with the team’s 20 turnovers, in the loss. “We just made too many mistakes,” Weems Jr. said. “A lot of little things, and we gave up too many
Romulus (5-1) shot lights out in the first half, converting seven three-pointers. Missouri recruit Wes Clark (10 points) opened the game with two 25-footers to stake the Eagles to an early 6-0 lead.
Unsigned senior forward Jalon Plummer (game-high 25 points) connected on three three-pointers in the first half. The Sting fought back behind the inspired play of 6-8 senior Foster. He scored 10 points in the first half on an impressive barrage of dunks, spin moves and strong post plays.
Disaster struck with 1:43 in the second quarter when Foster was also knocked to the ground and injured his right ankle. After sitting out the remainder of the second quarter, he scored just three points in the second half to
finish with 13 points.
“It was very frustrating because after I hurt my ankle, I had no explosion,” he said.
Romulus seemingly took charge with a 10-0 burst to start the third quarter for its largest lead at 47-34. Weems Jr. single-handedly kept the Sting close, scoring nine points in the third quarter to spark a 19-6 Seton run.
Christopher Seaton scored nine points on three three-pointers. His three-pointer forged the game’s final tie at 53 with 4:17 remaining. But Plummer once more got loose on the left baseline for a deep three-pointer and the Eagles never trailed again.
“In seven of our eight losses, we’ve been either ahead or tied in the fourth quarter,” Seton coach Brandon Thomas said. “On the one hand, that’s good, because it says we’re right there. But we’re also not making enough plays at the end of games.”
Seton never led in the game. Their comeback came up just short. Senior guard Armahn Mooring added seven points for the Sting. “We knew they weren’t going to blow us out,” Weems Jr. said of the comeback. “We just have to figure a way to win games at the end, because, we’re right there.”