PENTWATER — Snapping a two-game losing streak, the Mason County Eastern girls basketball team used some tenacious defense to turn back Pentwater, 38-29 in the Western Michigan D League on Thursday night at Pentwater.
It was Parents’ Night for the Falcons, and the emotional energy carried over to the start of the game for Pentwater, who outscored the Cardinals, 12-9.
But, then things turned the other way as the Cardinals played lock down defense and gained an 8-3 edge in the second quarter to climb into a 17-15 lead at the half.
“They came out on fire, and we matched them pretty well,” Eastern head coach Jake Smith said. “We just had to pick up our defensive intensity.
“We were out of position, giving up some easy shots. That happened the same way in the third quarter. We had a conversation about going out on the hot shooter
“First and second time we let them shoot, but we can’t watch the third and fourth time. We have to get out on them. The (Haidyn) Adams girl made three or four buckets in a row there.”
But instead of calling a time out, Smith let the Falcons play their way out of it themselves.
It paid off.
Adams helped lead the Falcons to a 14-9 third quarter advantage, but the Cardinals still held a narrow three-point edge, 29-26 going into the fourth period. The Cardinals then clamped down on defense in the final stanza, and shut the Falcons out, 12-0 to spread out the final margin.
“Our loss the other night left us probably playing for third in the conference as opposed to first,” said Smith. “But, you just go out there and win every game you can in front of you.
“As long as the girls compete hard, then we’re happy with that.”
Hilary Howe paced the Cardinals with 13 points, Corinna Hernandez knocked down three 3-point shots and finished with nine, Claudia Fuster added eight and Janessa Alvesteffer seven.
Pentwater was led in scoring by Adams who ended up with 10 points. Jocelyn Richison contributed eight. Mikaylyn Kenney grabbed 13 rebound to go with six points.
Eastern evened its record at 9-9 overall and 9-5 in the league. The Cardinals are next scheduled to see action Tuesday, Feb 22 at Manistee Catholic Central.
The Falcons saw their record drop to 2-13 overall and 2-11 in the league. Pentwater is next scheduled to see action at Bear Lake on Saturday, Feb. 19.