Chippewas fade against rival Orioles

Manistee’s Emily Gardner looks to score against rival Ludington on Friday night at Manistee High School. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Scrappy, intense and hard fought: all the ingredients were there for a Friday night rivalry.

And while neither team gave an inch in the early going, Ludington was able to gain distance as the game wore on and the Manistee girls basketball team fell 47-27 at home in Lakes-8 Conference action.

“We just stopped scoring,” said Manistee coach Kenn Kott. “I told the girls they did a lot of things right tonight, and a lot of things I know they were trying to do, but you can’t have 29 turnovers and you’ve got to make shots.”

Turnovers plagued both teams throughout, as the Chippewas gave it up 29 times to Ludington’s 25. Converting off of the opposition’s empty possessions, however, proved to be the difference.

“We did a great job with our pressing early on,” Kott said. “They were turning the ball over just like we were, unfortunately, but we weren’t capitalizing and they were. And that comes with experience.

“Our girls play defense so hard, sometimes I think we’ll get a steal and rest a little bit instead of taking advantage (of a fast break),” he added. “We’re not quite at that stage (to recognize that) yet, but that will come with time.

“I don’t have the breakdown in front of me, but I would be willing to bet out of our 29 turnovers (Ludington) probably scored on at least 10 to 12 of them. And that’s a lot of points.”

The Orioles (3-1, 2-0 Lakes-8) scrapped their way to an 8-3 lead in a hard-fought first quarter before Manistee’s senior guard Erin Dorn scored seven straight, including a successful 3-point play, to put the Chippewas up 10-8 with three minutes to go. Ludington, however, scored the last four points of the quarter for a 12-10 heading into the second.

The teams traded the first few buckets of the second quarter to a 14-14 tie, but Ludington went on an extended 9-0 run en route to a 23-16 lead at halftime.

The Chippewas (1-3, 1-1 Lakes-8) scored just four points in the third quarter and their eight missed free throws in the frame didn’t help as the Orioles capitalized and jumped out to a 33-20 lead to start the fourth.

An early 3-pointer — and the game’s only triple — by Manistee’s Sara Thompson looked to be a possible spark to jumpstart the offense, but Ludington responded with an 8-0 — all scored by the Orioles’ senior center Mackenzie Howe — to essentially put the game away.

Howe finished with a game-high 15 points while Ludington teammate Zoee Zartarga netted 14.

Manistee was paced by Lyndsey Kelley’s 15 points while Dorn netted eight, Thompson three, and Olivia Smith and Erin Vander Weele each chipped in two. Dorn grabbed a team-high eight rebounds while Vander Weele had five steals and three assists to her name.

“We do a lot of things really well, and I’m really proud of these girls,” Kott said, despite the loss. “Where we started a month ago, we’ve come a long ways.”

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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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