Chips open girls hoops season with 50-36 win

Manistee’s Megan Wayward (25) dribbles past Rachel Allen (5) of Mason County Central during the Chippewas’ 50-36 win over the Spartans in the girls basketball season opener Monday. Wayward and Allen both led their team in scoring in the game. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Megan Wayward (25) dribbles past Rachel Allen (5) of Mason County Central during the Chippewas’ 50-36 win over the Spartans in the girls basketball season opener Monday. Wayward and Allen both led their team in scoring in the game. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

SCOTTVILLE — Manistee began its 2017-18 girls basketball season the right way, pulling away in the second half for a 50-36 win at Mason County Eastern Monday night.

Megan Wayward led the way for the Chippewas with 13 points, 8 of them in the third quarter, and Tatum Liston added 11, in what Manistee head coach Kenn Kott called a total team effort.

“Mason County Central is a tough team,” Kott said. “(They are) going to really well in their league this year, and (they have) some ballplayers out there. We really played hard, and I think we got them a little tired at the end when they were trying to execute their offense.”

Manistee never trailed in the game, but were never really comfortable with the lead until late in the second half.

Erin Dorn started the game off with a three-pointer in the opening minute, and the Spartans then turned the game into a foul-fest. Manistee found itself in the double bonus in the first quarter, in which the two teams combined for 14 free-throw attempts.

“We were getting a lot of fouls that we didn’t need to get,” MCC head coach Mike Weinert said. “A lot of reaching fouls, and that was one of the number-one things we weren’t going to do tonight, so that’s frustrating.”

Tatum Liston drained a pull-up jumper at the buzzer to give the Chippewas a 16-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Spartans clawed back in the second, cutting the deficit to a single bucket, 25-23 at the break.

Manistee widened the gap in the third quarter, largely due to Wayward, who scored the first four points of the second half in the first minute, and gave MCC fits on both ends, earning praise from the opposing coach.

“She really played a very solid game,” Weinert said. “She was a load down there, and was probably the biggest reason they came out on top, honestly.”

Despite that, MCC closed the gap to a single point, 29-28, halfway through the third quarter before Grace Chandler stopped the bleeding with a very timely three-pointer. Wayward then scored the last four points of the quarter to give the Chippewas a 36-30 edge going into the fourth.

Another huge Chandler three with 6:17 left in the contest and a personal 6-point run by Liston finally opened up a 12-point lead, 47-35, to put the game away.

Manistee turned up the heat on defense down the stretch, allowing the Spartans just two field goals in the entire fourth quarter.

Kott said that he had contributions from all five spots on the floor, and that he’s going to need that for the team to be successful this season.

“I don’t think we’re going to have anybody hitting 25 or 30 points a night this year, it’s probably just not going to happen,” he said. “But if we get 14 or 15 out of four or five kids, that’s another way to look at things. That’s the route we might have to go this year.”

Next up for the Chippewas is another road game, at Frankfort on Thursday, Nov. 30.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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