Area girls basketball teams in action tonight

Evart’s Kaylee Ladd works with the ball during a practice last week. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — It’s a week a later than usual, but girls basketball final tips off tonight.

The switch of starting dates went the boys, who are already in their second week, and the girls, has meant a later season.

But there’s a full slate of games.

Big Rapids is home with Manistee while Morley Stanwood is at Sacred Heart, Reed City is home with Cadillac, Evart will host Forest Area, Chippewa Hills is at Farwell, Crossroads visits McBain Northern Michigan Christian.

Pine River is at Roscommon on Monday.

Big Rapids is coming off a district championship season.

“We will be very young, we do not have much court experience returning,” Coach Jessica Haist said. “However, there are good things to come. We are looking for strong input from our returning seniors: Jenna (Kondziolka), Celia (Beistle), and Annah (Folkema). Also, we are expecting to get contributions from returners Holly (McKenna), Megan (Mackall), Josie (Prince), and Alissa (Ruggles). Rounding out our roster are some newcomers, including freshman Mackenna Rautio.”

Morley Stanwood Rob Brauher is confident with his team.

“We expect to improve on our 12-11 record,” he said. “We had many games last year that we lost by under six points. We averaged 18 turnovers per game, so with 5 of 6 starters returning for this year, we feel we can take some big steps and compete with anyone we come up against.”

Reed City coach Bruce Koopman said he actually liked the week later start to the season.

“I think it’s kind of good for us this year,” Koopman said. “We have to get work done on some skill and get ready for the season. This year, we have that whole week after Thanksgiving to get in another week of practice. For us, I think it’s a huge benefit. I really like it. That extra week will be huge for us this year.”

Evart’s girls are home against Forest Area on Dec. 4 in nonleague play.

The Wildcats were 8-14 last season.

“My expectations are for our team to bring energy and grit for 32 minutes,” Evart coach Paul Higgins said. “We feel we can be a great defensive team and, with our length, we should rebound the ball well. Team strengths will be good team speed and good length. We will need to work on spacing the floor on offense and playing the style and tempo we want to.”

Pine River is home on Dec. 12 with Beal City.

“This is my second year coaching varsity girls, and I’m excited to have some more experience going into it, as well as to have some returning varsity starters,” Pine River coach Brandon Bowman said.

Roscommon 54, Pine River 37

ROSCOMMON — Roscommon led 34-20 at halftime and went on to defeat the Bucks in the first game of the regular season.

Taylor Hill led the team with 12 points and Chelsea Wanstead had eight points and four rebounds, while Hannah Wagner added six rebounds and Becca Horan four steals.

The Bucks host Beal City on Dec. 12.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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