CUSTER — Free throw shooting was key for the Mason County Eastern girls basketball team Tuesday night in a tight 46-43 victory over Mesick in the Western Michigan D League.

Eastern shot 11 out of 16 for the game at the charity stripe, and 9 of 10 in the second half alone.

“We came from behind, and had to foul at the end,” Cardinals head coach Jake Smith said. “I think they were up two at that point. We got the ball back, went down and got a bucket.

“Then we had some possessions at the end. We were up by one and had a girl make some free throws with about two seconds left. It was a huge win for the girls.

“I thought we played well defensively the whole game. We fought through some foul trouble in the first half. I had one of my guards out.”

Eastern jumped out to a 13-8 lead after one, but saw the Bulldogs scrap back with a 16-10 advantage in the second and fell behind, 24-23 at the half.

The Cardinals were outscored, 11-8 in the third quarter and trailed the Bulldogs, 35-31 going into the fourth quarter. Eastern prevailed, 15-8 over the final eight minutes.

Hilary Howe led the Cardinals in scoring with 12 points, followed by Janessa Alvesteffer with eight, Corinna Hernandez with seven and Lucy Shoup four.

Eastern snapped a two-game losing streak and improved its record to 8-7 overall and 8-4 in the WMD. The Cardinals are next scheduled to host Grand Traverse Academy on Thursday.