The Newaygo girls basketball team grew its win streak to 13 and clinched the CSAA-Gold using a strong second-half performance to put away the Grant Tigers, 53-42 on Friday evening.

It was a neck and neck battle with the Lions holding just a 26-25 lead by the end of the second quarter. The Lions opened up the second half swinging for the fences as they fired off a commanding 16-5 third-quarter run to increase the lead to 42-30.

After the strong third-quarter push to establish some breathing room, all that Newaygo had left to do was tighten up on defense to hold off the Tigers and snatch that conference title.

“Gutty effort from the girls tonight,” said coach Nathan Thomas. “We have been battling the flu bug since Wednesday and had at least six out of our 10 girls miss practice Wednesday, Thursday or both days.”

Capping off the night for the Lions was Jaxi Long with 21 points, four steals and three rebounds. Emmerson Goodin posted 15 points, nine rebounds and five steals.

Also chipping in for the Lions was Lily Swinehart who threw in eight points and grabbed four rebounds.

Newaygo Coach Thomasma was impressed with what he saw on the other side of the court and gave recognition where recognition is due.

“Give credit to Grant too,” said Thomasma. “They have really improved since the first time we played them and we may see them one more time for Districts in a few weeks.”

Newaygo continues their steep climb as they improve to 17-1 on the season and still a perfect 12-0 in conference play. The Lions continue league action on Friday as they host Reed City.

Grant falls to 10-8 with an 8-4 record in the conference and will be at home on Tuesday for a league showdown against Big Rapids.