2009-12-31 / Sports

Marlette, Brown City girls advance in Harry Moore Classic

BY DAVE FREDRICK SPORTS WRITER

Brown City’s Ashley Blovsky under the boards against North Branch. Photo by Dave Fredrick Brown City’s Ashley Blovsky under the boards against North Branch. Photo by Dave Fredrick NORTH BRANCH — Monday’s action in the Harry Moore Classic girls’ basketball tournament was a tale of two completely different styles of basketball. In the opening game, Marlette showed little mercy in racing out to a 23-2 lead in the first quarter over Capac. The Lady Red Raiders kept the pressure on the entire game, rolling to a lopsided 68-26 win.

In the nightcap, playing with heavy hearts after attending the funeral of 2007 grad Kayla Cain killed in car accident last Wednesday, the Brown City girls struggled against a stubborn North Branch squad before finally pulling away in the closing minutes, posting a 39-29 victory.

Marlette and Brown City, both from the Greater Thumb Conference-East, squared off in the championship game Wednesday afternoon, while North Branch and Capac played in the consolation finals.

In game one, the outcome was never in doubt for Marlette. The Lady Red Raiders used a suffocating press in the first quarter that helped them explode for 14 unanswered points. Capac found a bit of offense in the second period, scoring eight points and trailed 37-10 at the intermission. Marlette outscored its opponents 31-16 in the second half to seal the win.

“We wanted to come out strong, play with a lot of intensity and get the early lead,” said Marlette coach Cathy Storm. “We had good leadership from Amara (Wilson) and I thought Jenna (Hirsch) played well for us. It was good to be able to play a lot of girls and to see the balanced scoring that we had.”

Hirsch led the Lady Red Raiders with 17 points with 10 of her total coming in the first half. Sophomore Rachel McEwen added 12 points, Kristen Kirsch had 10 and Wilson chipped in with nine points, eight of which came in the opening quarter.

Capac was led in scoring by Chelsea Botwin and Jennica Polzin, each tossing in seven points and Ashley Mousseau had four.

Brown City, 6-0 overall, got off to a solid start in the second game of the holiday tournament, opening up a 10-4 lead before North Branch turned up the defensive effort to claw its way get back in the game. The Lady Green Devils’ lead slowly dwindled in the second quarter and a Lady Bronco triple midway through the quarter gave North Branch its first lead of the game, 16-14. A late hoop by Brown City made it a 16-16 score at the half.

A Kayla Snoblen hoop gave North Branch a 22-21 lead with 5:04 to play in the third before Brown City regained control of the game. Junior Emily Pytleski banked in a three-point shot for the Lady Green Devils only to see North Branch come back with a trey of its own to make it 26-25 after three quarters of play.

Senior guard Kristen Greene went coast-to-coast for a lay-up and later drained a short jumper to boost the Brown City lead to 32-25 with just under six minutes to play in the game.

“We were fortunate to win the game,” said Brown City coach Cindy Burton. “We let some of the girls miss the shoot-around to go to the funeral and I think that had something to do with our performance. We had no energy offensively and just kind of stood around. I thought the three pointer by Pytleski was a big boost for us.”

Greene paced the Brown City scoring with 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds and Murray had eight points. The two seniors combined to score 10 of their team’s 13 points in the fourth quarter.

North Branch, 4-2 overall, was led by Sam Waterman with seven points, Alison Severns tossed in six points and Rayenne Kaiser chipped in with five points and four assists.

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