Chippewas’ streak snapped

Manistee guard Erin Dorn goes up for a shot during the Chippewas’ defeat at the hands of Western Michigan Christian on Friday night. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Manistee falls to undefeated Western Michigan Christian

MANISTEE — Coming in on a five-game winning streak, Manistee seemingly had momentum on its side Friday night. Unfortunately for the Chippewas, undefeated Western Michigan Christian had more.

Despite a strong start, Manistee faded down the stretch and lost the Lakes 8 Conference contest 50-37 as the league-leading Warriors moved to 10-0 on the season and 4-0 in the conference.

“Tonight’s game — win, lose or draw — was going to be a measuring stick,” said Chippewas coach Kenn Kott. “I asked the girls, ‘Do we belong or do we not belong,’ and I think they feel like, ‘Yeah, we do belong.’ We were right there with them.”

In fact, Manistee (6-4, 3-2 Lakes 8) looked to be the better team in the first half, having its way with the Warriors’ full court pressure.

“We were scoring off the press break, which was awesome,” Kott said. “We got a lot of real easy buckets, so I was pleased with that.”

The Chippewas scored at a rapid clip in the first quarter en route to an 18-17 edge to start the second.

Manistee’s Lyndsey Kelley — who finished with a team-high 11 points — scored all six of the Chippewas’ points in the second. Manistee held the lead for most of the quarter until WMC netted the last five points, including a triple with 7 seconds to go in the half to jump out in front, 26-24.

The Chippewas controlled the game for much of the first half, but at the same time missed a slew layups that left Kott wondering what could have been.

“Really, what I think hurt us tonight was earlier in the game when we had some wonderful opportunities to take a good lead, but we missed a lot of real easy shots,” he said. “That comes back to haunt you. In order to weather a cold streak, you’ve got to have some hot streaks in there.

“We were consistent, but never had a real hot streak.”

A lead would have been nice in the third quarter, when the Chippewas indeed went cold.

The Warriors scored the first 11 points of the second half to jump ahead 37-24, while holding Manistee scoreless for nearly six minutes. Logan Wayward snapped the dry spell with a layup at 2:16 in the frame, which proved to be the Chippewas’ only field goal in the third. One free throw later, they were trailing 37-27 to start the fourth.

“We went cold, there’s no doubt about it,” Kott said. “And (Warriors coach Jeremy Goorman) switched up defenses, which was a smart move on his part, We knew it was coming, and we were ready for it, but you’ve still got to make shots.”

Sara Thompson provided a spark in the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers, bringing Manistee back to within single digits at 41-33, but WMC quickly responded with a 7-0 run, essentially putting the game out of reach.

Thompson finished with six points to go with a team-high four assists, while Erin Dorn scored seven, Erin Vander Weele netted five with eight steals, Emily Gardner added four points and seven rebounds, and Wayward and Emma Witkowski scored two apiece.

The Chippewas went 3-for-25 beyond the arc Friday night and shot 27 percent from the field overall.

“I don’t think a lot of our shots were forced or anything,” Kott said. “I told the girls, ‘I’ve coached a lot of teams and we’ve lost games for a lot of different reasons, but you did not lose this game tonight because of effort.’ This bunch is getting after it and playing hard.

“That’s all you can ask, but when the ball doesn’t go in, you’re going to struggle.”

Manistee has another tough test on Tuesday when Lake City (8-1) comes to town. The game is slated for approximately 7 p.m.

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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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