Portagers struggle in district semi, beat Walkerville 48-35

Onekama’s Maggie Domres (25) fights for a rebound during the Portagers’ 48-35 win over Walkerville in their Class D district semifinal game at Mason County Eastern Wednesday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Onekama’s Maggie Domres (25) fights for a rebound during the Portagers’ 48-35 win over Walkerville in their Class D district semifinal game at Mason County Eastern Wednesday night. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

CUSTER — Survive and Advance is a common mantra of postseason basketball tournaments, and that is exactly what Onekama did in its Class D girls basketball semifinal.

The Portagers overcame poor shooting and foul trouble with lock-down defense in a 48-35 win over Walkerville at Mason County Eastern Wednesday night.

Colleen McCarthy led all scorers with 16 points for the Portagers, in a game that frankly was harder than it should have been.

“We didn’t play well, by any means,” Onekama head coach Jim Armstrong said. “But we played well enough to win. I told the kids in the locker room, we have six more (games), and I don’t care if we win every one of them by one point.”

Onekama (11-10) dominated from the outset, doing everything but putting the ball in the basket early. Layup after putback after bunny rimmed out in the first quarter, which ended with the Portagers clinging to a 10-8 lead.

McCarthy said that the misses got into the team’s head.

“(It did) a little bit, but then we came back hard and fought,” McCarthy said. “We knew we had to work harder than we were. We were all shooting too hard, we need to shake the nerves out and be better for Friday.”

McCarthy scored eight of her 16 points in the second quarter, including two key 3-pointers that allowed Onekama to take a 26-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.

But the Wildcats closed that gap quickly after the break, scoring the first seven points of the third quarter to tie the game 2:09 after the break.

Walkerville (9-12) tied the game 28-28 with 3:33 left in the third quarter, missing a chance to take a lead with a missed free throw, but the Portagers went on a 12-0 run from there and never trailed again.

Junior-varsity callup Hanna Hughes was a big part of that run, coming off the bench and scoring the last 5 points of it on a key 3-pointer and a nifty drive of the baseline that made the score 40-28 with 5:29 left in the contest.

“I brought two or three kids in off the bench, and they really provided a heck of a spark,” Armstrong said. “It picked up our defense a lot. If you can get a couple of kids to come out and play really good defense, it forces the other kids to play defense too.

“I was proud of them, overall.”

Onekama held Walkerville to just two field goals in the fourth quarter to run out with the somewhat deceiving 13-point win.

“Our defense did a really good job, especially in the second half,” Armstrong said. “They were beating us down the court, so I put in a little zone (defense) and we built up a pretty nice lead.”

Hughes finished with 11 points, as did Elizabeth Domres for the Portagers.

Walkerville freshman Mykaela Berumen led the Wildcats with 13 points and Kylie Masta added 11.

With the win, Onekama advances to the district final on Friday, Mar. 2, playing for its third consecutive district championship against Pentwater. The Falcons defeated Mason County Eastern 62-50 in the other semifinal.

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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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