EARLSBORO—Grudge match. Last week in Varnum, the Asher Indians dropped a two-point decision to the Whippets. It was different Friday night when the two teams collided in the semifinals of the Jim Walling Classic. Much, much different. The Indians defeated the Whippets 85-71 in the tense, up-tempo affair.

Varnum took off first, taking an 18-14 lead after the first quarter, but a second-quarter explosion sent Asher into the half with a 45-29 lead. The Indians scored 31 points in the quarter while holding the Whippets to just 11.

Asher’s Patch Hamilton was too much for Varnum. The junior forward scored 10 first-half points, but he was just scratching the surface on this night.

Hamilton slashed and dashed his way to 22 second-half points, including two monster dunks. The second flush gave Asher its biggest lead of 77-60 with 2:09 left to play.

The Whippets kept fighting and on three straight three’s got the lead down to 79-71 with :59 remaining, but would run out of gas at that point to fall to the Indians.

Hamilton finished with 32 points and Trevor Martin scored 21 for Asher. Mike McDonald chipped in with 13 points.

Varnum had a big night from their sophomore guard Martell Davis. Davis scored 28 points and Baylen White chipped in with 11 points.

Asher will face the Smithville Braves tonight at 8:30 p.m. for the championship.

Girls

The Lady Indians were no match for the Varnum JV squad, losing 46-32 Friday afternoon.

Asher trailed 23-8 at halftime.

Sarah Fleming and Gracy Hadley tied for the team lead with 11 points apiece.

The Lady Indians will face Macomb Saturday at 10 a.m.