Four Cardinals score in double digits in girls basketball win vs Central Montcalm

DRIVE TO THE BASKET: Big Rapids’ Maddie Tassoni (24) leaps up for a layup against Central Montcalm on Friday. The Cardinals won 63-52. (Pioneer photo/Ryan Zuke)

DRIVE TO THE BASKET: Big Rapids’ Maddie Tassoni (24) leaps up for a layup against Central Montcalm on Friday. The Cardinals won 63-52. (Pioneer photo/Ryan Zuke)

BIG RAPIDS — Big Rapids girls basketball coach Jessica Haist entered this season confident she could have several players score in double digits on any given night.

Although the Cardinals have struggled scoring at times, they delivered the type of performance on Friday that Haist has been hoping to see all season. Four players scored 10 or more points to lead the team to a 63-52 win over visiting Central Montcalm.

“Finally,” Haist said with a smile. “The first couple games of the season, I felt good that I could have four or five girls in double figures, but we just haven’t meshed that way. But we came out with some really good intensity tonight that we haven’t come out with.

“We talked a lot this week about focus and game prep and what we need to do because there is such a big difference in the game when we are the ones getting chased and not the ones doing the chasing, so it was good to see the kids come out and take charge.”

Central Montcalm ended the first half with a 3-pointer and scored quickly in the second half to cut the deficit to 27-23. The teams traded baskets for the majority of the third quarter before the Cardinals ended the quarter on a 7-0 run for a 47-37 lead. Grace White ignited the run with a three-point play and then followed up with a layup off a fast break.

“We took advantage of some substitutions,” Haist said. “We put the press on inside of two minutes and caused some turnovers, and that really was the deciding factor in the game.”

Grace finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Big Rapids continued to maintain its lead in the fourth quarter, led by Aliza Hengesbach, who had six points in the final eight minutes. She finished with 12 points.

Alexis Lyman had a team-high 15 points, while Kaitlyn Ray had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Cardinals (7-3 overall) completed the first round of games against the Central State Activities Association Gold Division, going 4-2 with their two losses coming against Grant and Tri County.

“(The league is) about what I expected,” said Haist, whose Cardinals’ team went undefeated in the conference last season. “I knew it was going to be a lot more competitive than last year. We have to take it one game at a time. We can’t worry about anyone else.”

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Posted by Ryan Zuke

Ryan is the sports editor for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering local prep sports and Ferris State athletics. He can be contacted at (231) 592-8363 or rzuke@pioneergroup.com.

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