By Greg Gielczyk

MANISTEE — A bad third quarter spelled doom for Mason County Eastern’s girls basketball team.
Being 0utscored 22-2 by Manistee Catholic led to a 53-32 road loss in the West Michigan D League on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals hung with the Sabers early in the first quarter, actually taking a brief 3-2 lead when Maria Gomez Jimenez drained a 3-point shot.
But that was the last time Eastern would have the lead.
Manistee Catholic pulled away from the Cardinals with a 12-0 run and put them in a 16-3 hole.
Still, the Cardinals tried to stay in the game. Deanna Codman and Olivia Wing each scored to make it a nine-point game, 16-7 at th end of the first quarter.
The Sabers threatened to go off on another major run at the start of the second quarter, when they bounded out to a 20-7 lead early.
Eastern again answered, though, when Gomez Jimenez launched another 3-pointer that settled in the bottom of the net to pull to within 10 points, 20-10 with 5:10 left in the first half.
The Sabers took off on another offensive spurt, however, and put the Cardinals in an 11-point deficit, 27-16 at the halftime break.
“We gave away about three or four possessions in a row, and that opens it up,” said Eastern head coach Jake Smith. “We talked about it in the locker room, it’s about intensity for 32 minutes or plus.
“A team like this (Manistee Catholic) that’s aggressive defensively, you can’t be flat. I thought we were flat a little bit defensively, flat a little bit with our quickness, and then we missed a few shots we probably shouldn’t have.
“Manistee Catholic has a very good squad. I had no doubts that it was going to be a battle when we came in here. Very seldom do we have scores like this. Most games between Eastern and Manistee Catholic are a three- or four-point game.”
Poor shooting and 42 forced turnovers destroyed any chance of that happening for the Cardinals.
The game got way out of hand in the third quarter when the Cardinals managed only two points and was outscored by 20 to trail, 49-18 after three.
Eastern finished with a flourish, outscoring the Sabers (9-2, 4-1 WMD) 14-4 in the fourth period, but it wasn’t nearly enough to appreciably close the gap.
Wing scored six points to lead the Cardinals. Shoup contributed five while Kaitlyn Mickevich and Codman chipped in four points apiece.
Elizabeth Logan scored 15 points for the Sabers, with Grace Kidd adding 11 and Kaytlyn Johnson 10.
Mason County Eastern (5-5, 5-3 WMD) hosts Hesperia in a non-conference game on Friday night.