The Lady Cards started the season with wins over Hillman and Rogers City as the girls switched gears quickly from volleyball to basketball. With limited practice time, due to the long run of the volleyball team to the state semifinals, coach Marty Mix’s squad might have been still a little rusty with their basketball skills.
“I don’t like always using that as an excuse because we still can find ourselves in the right positions and tonight we didn’t always find ourselves there,” Mix said after the 44-29 win over Rogers City Wednesday.
“We missed a lot of puppy shots and rust or not, we’ve got to have those. That is something that we talked about. We are not using it as a negative, but we are going to build on it heading into the next game Friday. Three games in the first week are rough.”
Wednesday the Cards were all over the Hurons in the first quarter, scoring 14 straight points to lead 14-1 at the end of the frame. Onaway went to the line three times after a player was fouled attempting a 3-point shot. Kallie Shimel started the run, connecting on three free throws after she was fouled attempting a triple on the wing.
An inside banker and a 3-pointer by Temara Lupu brought the lead to 9-1 with 3:11 left in the first.
Constant pressure by the Cards forced many Huron turnovers in the second quarter, as Onaway increased its lead to 24-9 at halftime.
Each team concentrated on tough defense in a low scoring third quarter. Ashley LeCureux’s 3-pointer at the 2:02 mark gave the Cards a 30-13 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The Hurons showed some signs of life in the final quarter, sparked by Courtney Streich’s 3-pointer, and two buckets from Brenna Hincka. The Cards responded at the free throw line, taking advantage of Huron fouls. Emily Estep connected on four-of-four while Devin Bristley hit both her shots in a 40-second span to pull the Cards out to a 38-22 lead with 3:54 left in the game.
“It was a back and forth game up and down that floor the entire ballgame. I’m very happy about the effort. That is one thing that I don’t see won’t be there for us all year. These girls, they like to play and they like to win and they like to work. It shows in the classroom, it shows on the playing field and anything they do,” Mix said.
Onaway made 17-of-31 from the line while the Hurons made just 6-of-17.
Mix made no excuses for the team’s lack of practice time, saying the semifinal volleyball team could inspire the basketball team.
“I would trade it every single year. Tonight (Wednesday) is our sixth night in the gym. Two of those days have been games and one was a scrimmage. To say that we’ve had a lot of practice—we haven’t. I think that we will continue to get better. Putting that all aside, as much of a hindrance as it was rust-wise, it was an advantage for us competitive-wise. They are coming off that thrill of wanting to win,” Mix said.
A balanced scoring attack had Lupu with eight points while Emily Estep, Bristley and Shimel each scored seven points.
Streich had nine for Rogers City while Hincka added seven.
Monday at Hillman the Cards took a 53-45 win over the Tigers. Onaway trailed 22-20 at halftime but rallied to take the lead in the third quarter. Erika Price and Lupu each scored 15 points while Emily Estep added 13.
In junior varsity action, the Cards topped Hillman 20-19 and lost to Rogers City 22-10. At Hillman, Lexi Szymoniak had 11 points while Jade Galer led the team in scoring with 5 at Rogers City.
Cassidy Purgiel had nine to pace the junior Hurons.