Portagers snap skid with lopsided win

Onekama’s Hanah Gilbert (34) shoots during the second half of Thursday’s win against Walkerville. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — Fresh off a midseason skid in an otherwise solid season so far, Onekama welcomed Walkerville with open arms on Thursday night.

The timing was perfect for the Portagers, who snapped their first two-game losing streak of the year with a sound 52-13 West Michigan D League win over the Wildcats.

“It can give them some confidence back hopefully,” said Onekama coach Nathan Bradford, “and it at least gets the girls used to scoring again.”

After averaging 55 points in their first 10 contests of the season, the Portagers (11-3, 8-3 WMD) scored just 38 per game in the three leading up to Tuesday’s win.

Onekama, of course, didn’t need many to cruise past the struggling Wildcats (2-12, 1-9 WMD), but Bradford stressed the need for a solid effort all around.

“I told the girls, ‘I know a lot of you will get to play tonight,’” he said, “but when they went in, we wanted to stress playing hard and doing things we need to work on.”

The Portagers, who essentially had two rotations of five different players Thursday night, jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead midway through the first, which set the pace the rest of the way. They held Walkerville to a bucket apiece in the first two quarters, to take a 15-2 lead after the first and a 33-4 advantage by the break.

“Last game, we didn’t rebound too well,” Bradford said of a 43-35 loss to Crossroads Charter Academy on Tuesday, “so that was definitely one focus — getting a body on somebody.

“It was a game to keep working on the basic stuff.”

Scoring was spread throughout Onekama’s lineup, with Alexis Tribfelner leading the way with a game-high 13 points. Sophomore Hanah Gilbert had a standout game, scoring eight to go with a 15 boards and five steals.

“She’s been coming on lately, giving us good minutes, and she’s one that gives us a little more strength down low, with some physicality,” Bradford said of the midseason call-up from the junior varsity team. “She boxes out, rebounds, and isn’t afraid to take it up and score.”

Hailey Kott and Tawny Kott each added seven for Onekama, as Walkerville was led by Mandy Achterhof with nine.

The low-scoring third quarter saw Achterhof open the half with a triple from the corner before Onekama closed the frame with eight unanswered for a 41-7 lead.

A pair of free throws by Tawny Kott at 5:39 in the fourth gave the Portagers a 48-7 cushion that initiated a running clock, during which time Walkerville closed the game on a 6-2 run for its largest stretch of offensive production.

 

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