Chips welcome clean slate in district

A win has been elusive for the Manistee Chippewas through the regular season thus far, but perhaps the best part of the postseason is that records are tossed out the window.

The program, which by all accounts is in a rebuilding period, will welcome a clean slate next Monday in a Class B district quarterfinal at Cadillac against the hosting Vikings.

The winner of the 7 p.m. game will move on to face Kingsley in Wednesday’s semifinal round following the Ludington-Benzie Central semi on the other side of the bracket.

For the Chippewas (0-18), the contest will be a shot at redemption after suffering a 62-30 home defeat to Cadillac (11-7) on March 3.

“We know who we face in the first game, and they’re very tough,” said first-year Manistee coach Mike Peterson. “They’re competitive in the best conference in the north, so we’re looking forward to giving a better account of ourselves this time around.”

In the teams’ first meeting, Manistee fell behind early and stayed stuck in neutral as the Vikings led 17-6 after the first quarter, 34-13 by halftime and 50-19 to start the fourth.

“We learned a lot from that first game; we learned we have to respond to the type of defensive pressure that they apply,” Peterson said. “Hopefully we’ll come up with a good way to reduce the turnovers and be able to be highly competitive in that game.”

The Chippewas are 0-4 against the rest of the district field, not having played Kingsley and being swept in home-and-away series with both Ludington and Benzie Central. Manistee lost to the Orioles 62-33 on Dec. 19 and 55-40 on Feb. 24, and fell to the Huskies 52-47 on Jan. 20 and 37-33 on Feb. 11.

The regular season will wrap up this week for the Chippewas with today’s road game against Reed City and Thursday’s home finale against Mason County Central.

While the win column hasn’t changed, Peterson said the team has since the start of the season.

“I think we’ve improved in every area,” he said. “I know it doesn’t show on the scoreboard, but really our primary goal at at the beginning of the season was just to get better in every facet of the game.

“Quite honestly — even though we take some small strides backwards from time to time — overall the kids have definitely made positive progress in every aspect of basketball,” he added.

“To compete against good teams — and we’ve certainly put ourselves in position to win some games since the beginning of the year — is probably our biggest stride.”

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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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