Chippewas survive turnovers, missed F-T’s to down TC West

Manistee’s Tatum Liston (left) battles Tacey Looze (right) of Traverse City West during the Chippewas’ 42-38 win over the Titans Tuesday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Tatum Liston (left) battles Tacey Looze (right) of Traverse City West during the Chippewas’ 42-38 win over the Titans Tuesday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee girls basketball gutted out a non-league game Tuesday night, getting back to the .500 mark with a 42-38 win over Traverse City West.

Megan Wayward and Grace Chandler shared team-high honors with 10 points each for the Chippewas, who jumped out to a big early lead but had to hang on down the stretch from the free-throw line.

The game was won, or rather lost, at the charity stripe, as the two teams combined to miss 20 free throws in the fourth quarter.

But the Chippewas (9-9) converted when it counted, and held the Titans (3-14) to a two field goals in the fourth quarter, one of them on a putback of, naturally, a missed free throw.

Manistee head coach Kenn Kott was happy that his team hung on for the type of win that had sometimes eluded his squad this season.

“We kept our cool in the fourth quarter and showed a lot of poise,” Kott said. “I wasn’t happy with a couple of things, we made some very, very bad mistakes that when you’re trying to close out a game, you don’t want to make.”

The Chippewas came out on fire to start the game, hitting four 3-pointers in the first quarter, three of them by Chandler, to take a 16-5 lead.

But West went on an 11-1 run from there to get back in the contest, and stayed in it the rest of the way.

Manistee opened up some breathing room in the second quarter, scoring a quick six points in the span of 54 seconds, and took a 25-19 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

“We changed things up a little bit after that first quarter with some personnel moves to get some other people into the game, and sometimes when you start with a big flow that’s the last thing you want to do, stop it,” Kott said. “But that was one of the best starts we’ve had this year. We got the start and we got the finish.”

The Titans came out after the break on a 7-0 run, and took a brief lead, 26-25 with 5:23 left in the third quarter, which ended with Manistee clinging to a slim 34-30 advantage.

Turnovers were an issue for the Chippewas, who committed 22 as a team, and had 12 different players cough up the ball at least once.

“It’s a concern because we’ve been cutting down on turnovers,” Kott said. “We crept back up over 20 again today, but the biggest problem there wasn’t handling the ball, it was that we weren’t moving to get open so that the ball handler can get them the ball. That’s all part of running an offense.”

West took its last lead of the game, 37-36 with 3:22 left, and missed six of their seven free throws from that point.

Wayward scored the last field goal of the game with 2:05 left to give Manistee a 41-37 advantage, and the rest of the contest was simply a free-throw nightmare. The two teams went a combined 2-for-15 in the last 1:20 of the game.

But, it still goes down as a win for the Chippewas.

“I thought we did well answering adversity,” Kott said. “We got down for little bit there, we regrouped, and we didn’t fold up. We had that look on our faces at time tonight from some of our previous games that we didn’t win, and the game went apart. I was pleased with the way we played over those things tonight.”

 With two games left in the regular season, Manistee must win at least one of them to have a chance to avoid its first losing record since the 2011-12 season. Next up is a winnable Lakes-8 road game at 3-12 Muskegon Heights on Friday, Feb. 16.

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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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