By Greg Gielczyk

PENTWATER — The Pentwater girls basketball team nearly overcame some tough hurdles in Saturday afternoon’s 40-39 loss to Manistee Catholic Central in a West Michigan D League contest.

But it was a much better game than Pentwater coach Joe Gorton thought it might be.

The game wasn’t scheduled until Thursday, when Manistee Catholic called and asked if the Falcons could play because there were no other open dates left.

“Going in, we knew we had a lot of production to replace,” Falcons head coach Joe Gorton said. “I challenged my girls to step up and play as a team to replace Kenney’s production together, and they were up to the challenge.

“Playing with seven varsity players, we played great from start to finish. We really hung with a team that looks to challenge for the top of the conference.”

It was a back-and-forth game from the jump, with the Falcons finding themselves down by only one at the first quarter break, 9-8.

But the Falcons used a solid defensive effort to outscore the Sabers, 8-3 in the second period and went into the half with a three-point lead, 16-13.
Pentwater continued to hold the hot hand in the third quarter, outscoring the Sabers, 15-14 and took the floor for the fourth quarter with a 29-27 edge.

The Sabers dug in their heels in the fourth quarter and hit a couple big shots, while the Falcons had a couple good looks rim and out.

Although the Falcons were able to foul out the Sabers post player, Kaylyn Johnson, they couldn’t break the spell the two teams exchanged the lead several times.

Pentwater fell behind by five points, then hit two huge free throws. Forced to foul, the Falcons couldn’t defend at the free throw line and the Saber stretched their lead just enough with one free throw.

Haidyn Adams rattled in a clutch 3-point shot, but the only problem was the Falcons needed one more and they didn’t get it.
“I’m incredibly proud of the effort and heart my girls gave out on the floor tonight,” Gorton said. “I’m excited to get into the second half of the season, and see if we can turn this around a little bit.”

Adams led the Falcons in scoring with 15 points while Jocelyn Richison added 11. 

Johnson finished with 17 points for the Sabers.

Pentwater fell to 1-8 overall and 1-6 in the conference. The Falcons are next scheduled to hit the road for a WMD game at Brethren on Tuesday, Feb, 1.