Wildcats snap losing streak against Bucks with 40-33 rivalry win

Evart’s Kelci Elder (20) looks to make her move while being defended by Pine River’s Daria Lindquist (12). (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

EVART — The Evart Wildcats and the Pine River Bucks met in Evart for yet another installment of their hoops rivalry.

The Wildcats exacted revenge on the Bucks with a 40-33 victory on Friday night in front of a packed Evart gym.

According to MHSAA schedule records dating back to the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats snapped a 20-game losing streak that took place over that time span.

“Both teams played hard,” Evart coach Paul Higgins said. “Coming into it, they were looking for their first win and we knew they were going to play hard. We needed to match their intensity.”

“I’m proud of these girls,” Pine River coach Brandon Bowman said. “They worked as hard as they possibly could.”

It was a tight game throughout as both teams tried to find a flow on offense. The Wildcats took an 18-15 lead into halftime. Neither team was truly able to take over the game.

A Hannah Wetters jumper put Evart up 35-27 in the fourth before the Bucks answered back. A Taylor Hill bucket trimmed Evart’s lead to 35-31, but that’s as close as it could get.

“We struggled to score,” Bowman said. “We took high-quality shots, but we struggled to make them. We just couldn’t finish.”

“If we could’ve executed more of our offense we would’ve gotten better shots,” Higgins said. “I thought defensively we were very aggressive. That was the difference for us today.”

Evart’s Kelci Elder led all scorers 13 points and Kara Henry and Wetters tallied eight points, apiece. Kyleigh Burhans and Kaylee Ladd each scored five points.

Taylor Hill had 10 and 10 rebounds for Pine River and Payton Fulmerhouser tallied eight points, seven rebounds, and 11 steals. Kendra Montague added six points and eight rebounds.

“Hill was huge for us as a leader,” Bowman said. “It was by far her best performance.”

“Kelci played a great game,” Higgins said. “She had to handle the ball at times. It’s nice to have someone versatile. Hannah played well offensively and worked well inside. Kara hit some big free throws for us down the stretch.”

Evart (5-5, 2-4) hopes to extend its win streak to three when they travel to McBain on Tuesday. (Pine River (0-11, 0-6) will search for its first win Tuesday at Beal City.

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