Sabers edge Bobcats in OT

Manistee Catholic Central’s Mimi Modjeski (32) tries to get a shot off between Brethren’s Annie MacNeil (left) and Sarah Colbrook during the second half of Thursday’s game. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

BRETHREN — For the second time this season, the rivalry between Brethren and Manistee Catholic Central came down to the final seconds.

And for the second time in as many games, the Sabers came through in the clutch.

Alysha Heck hit a jumpshot with 8 seconds left to force overtime while Mimi Modjeski drilled a big triple to start the extra session as the Sabers went on to a 49-45 West Michigan D League win on Thursday.

“I’m real proud of the effort our kids put on the floor,” said MCC coach Todd Erickson. “I thought we had a lot more attention and we ran the floor pretty darn well.”

For Brethren, it came down to missed opportunities late as they managed just one point in overtime and finished the game 5-for-12 from the free throw line.

“Some of the shots we needed didn’t fall in,” said Brethren coach Julie Riggs. “Clutch free throws in the end are just as important as clutch free throws at the beginning.”

Haley Doyle led the Sabers (7-6, 4-5 WMD) with 18 points to go with six steals before fouling out late in overtime while Jordan Barnett scored 14. Annie MacNeil had 10 points and five blocks to pace the Bobcats (7-6, 5-4 WMD) while Lexi Lakso scored nine to go with 11 rebounds and five steals.

The game was very physical on both ends.

“The refs let us play and it was both ways,” said Brethren guard Elana Hickok, who finished with eight points.

Doyle carried the Sabers early as she scored 12 in the first quarter to help her team out to a 14-10 lead.

“I think we worked better as a team tonight,” Heck said. “We talked a lot more on defense and on offense. We looked for people who were open and we definitely worked together.”

MCC led by as many as nine points in the second quarter before the Bobcats closed the frame on an 8-2 run, capped by Cailon Modjeski’s 3-pointer at the buzzer to pull Brethren within three at halftime at 26-23.

Brethren’s Elana Hickok (42) shoots over MCC’s Haley Doyle. (Matt Wenzel/News Advocate)

From there, neither team led by more than three points the rest of regulation. Brethren took a 37-36 lead into the fourth quarter and a jumper by Hickok put the Bobcats up 44-42 with 34 seconds left.

Following a timeout, the Sabers worked the ball around to Heck, who drilled a jumper from inside the arc, forcing overtime after a scramble and loose ball before the clock ran out.

“It felt really good,” Heck said of hitting the shot. “I didn’t want that game to be over and I definitely didn’t want to lose.”

Brethren opened overtime by turning the ball over on its first two possessions as part of 33 for the game.

“I think we were frazzled and tried to force it,” Hickok said of overtime, “and should have just took our time and got a good shot off.”

Mimi Modjeski, who hit a game-tying triple late in the win against Brethren earlier this season, provided another dagger with the big 3-pointer for the first points of overtime, giving MCC a lead it never relinquished.

“I switched to a man-to-man,” Riggs said of overtime. “I contemplated that and I should have went with my gut and just left it (in a zone).”

Although it was the fourth loss in five games for the Bobcats, Riggs was happier with her team’s effort following a 26-point loss to Onekama on Tuesday.

“I told the girls the other night I would rather lose in a hard-fought overtime game by one than what we did in Onekama,” she said. “It was a good game by both teams. I’d play it all over again.”

Prior to the varsity game, the MCC and Brethren JV teams also went to overtime tied at 44. The Sabers scored all five points in the extra session for a 49-44 win.

Madison Stefanski led the Sabers with 14 points while Megan Miller scored 12. Jordin Wilks scored 17 for the Bobcats while Emily Modjeski had 12.

 

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