Chips hold on to top Trojans

MANISTEE — Eleven days removed from their last game, the Chippewas got off to an uncharacteristically slow start Monday night against Traverse City Central.

Once they shook off the rust, however, there was nothing uncharacteristic about the way they finished. An 8-0 run to start the second half sparked Class B No. 8 Manistee to a 46-39 victory over the Class A Trojans.

“(A slow start) is one thing you worry about when you’re off that long,” said Chippewas coach Todd Erickson, whose team hadn’t played since handing Traverse City St. Francis its only loss of the year on Feb. 4. “But, we eventually got it going.”

Manistee (17-1) was led by point guard Emilee Kott with 11 points, five assists, four steals and four rebounds while Jessica Gustad (eight points, six rebounds and three blocks) and Annie Fuller (eight points, five rebounds and three blocks) had near identical games. Emma Burns added four points, four boards and four blocks for the Chippewas as Emily Thompson scored six, Natalee Kott five and Audrey Tomaszewski four.

“I thought everyone filled their roles tonight,” Erickson said.

Manistee’s Annie Fuller fights through a mob of Traverse City Central defenders during the Chippewas’ home victory on Monday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Annie Fuller fights through a mob of Traverse City Central defenders during the Chippewas’ home victory on Monday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Manistee appeared to be anything but rusty in the early going while jumping out to a 13-5 lead, but cold spells and unforced turnovers kept TCC at their heels.

The Trojans scored the final three points of the first to cut the gap to 13-8 before a 7-0 run late in the second put them in front 21-17, causing Erickson to all a timeout. Out of the huddle, Natalee Kott knocked down a triple to cut into the gap, and with 25 seconds remaining before halftime Fuller found Burns on a break to take the lead back. The Chippewas entered the locker room up 22-21, but had their best basketball ahead of them.

Manistee scored the first four buckets of the third to take a 30-21 lead, which would bend but not break down the stretch.

“We made some adjustments at the half, and the girls came out with a good run right off the bat in the third and that got us going,” Erickson said. “What I liked was when we made substitutions things kept rolling.”

TCC’s Margot Woughter hit a triple to end the third, which brought her team within five points at 34-29. The freshman guard finished with a game-high 16.

“You had to be real aware of (Woughter),” Erickson said. “I thought (Tomaszewski), (Fuller) and Natalee (Kott) did a good job with her and we got some great help away from it too.”

A bucket from Fuller midway through the fourth pushed the margin to double digits for the first time all night, and the Chippewas were able to play it safe down the stretch for the win.

“All in all, for being off, I thought our team speed going up and down the floor looked better than it has,” Erickson said of the performance. “Everybody was pushing, but I thought we were good at being patient when we had to be.”

Manistee’s junior varsity team fell to the Trojans, 49-43, as Georgia Hiipakka led the Chippewas with 15 points and 10 rebounds and teammate Madison Miller scored 11 with seven boards.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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