Lady Eagles split conference games

February 28, 2019

by Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

Marion had an early lead in its West Michigan ‘D’ home girls basketball game with Mesick Friday night. The Lady Eagles held were able to hold on to a slim margin after the good early start for most of the night but had it slip away late, falling 33-26.

“We came out like gang-busters, scored a quick seven points in the first minute of the game,” head coach Matt LaGrow said. “From there we just slowly went away offensively. We were executing really well, we just weren’t able to finish.”

After the Eagles took the 7-0 lead, it was trimmed to 12-8 after the first and the teams were deadlocked at 15-all at the half. Marion inched back ahead 23-22 entering the fourth, but the Bulldogs held Marion to just three points in the fourth and handed the Eagles the loss.

“The turnovers late in the game really started to haunt us,” LaGrow said. “We kind of lost our focus in the second half.”
Leading the team was Katlin Booms with nine points, Isabell Bontekoe netted six points, with four apiece were Tashawa Switalski and Lexi Salisbury and Aspen LaGrow chipped in with three points.

“Mason beat us the first time we played them and they jumped ahead 7-1 in this game,” LaGrow said. “We just battled our way back, nip-and-tuck until the end. I was glad to see our kids get over a mental roadblock in this one. They are fourth in the conference and have given us fits the last couple of years so for us to get over the hump and beat them was great and it showed a large amount of growth from our kids.”

LaGrow felt his squad did a good job defensively, especially on Mason County’s leading post-player.

“Our defense has been pretty good this year, but they have one post player that really dominated us on the inside last time,” LaGrow said. “She scored their first seven points but we made a defensive adjustment and our kids did a good job of shutting her down the rest of the way. Stella Henderson, Emily Krchmar and Bontekoe all took turns shutting her down and they did a really good job.”

Leading the way in the win was LaGrow with 10, Switalski scored five, Henderson netted four, Chloe Philo and Salisbury had three apiece, Bontekoe had two and Booms finished with one.

Marion (6-11 overall, 5-9 WMD) was at Big Rapids Crossroads on Thursday and opens action in the division four districts on Monday against McBain Northern Michigan Christian at Buckley. Brethren, Mesick and host Buckley are also in the district with the semi-finals taking place on Wednesday and the finals on Friday, March 8.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20 the Eagles were able to pick up a WMD win at Mason County Eastern, 29-27.

“We want to make sure we stay healthy, I don’t think the win or loss will matter against Crossroads, they got us the first time and we will finish sixth place in the league regardless,” LaGrow said. “We just want to leave it all out on the floor and maybe surprise some people with the NMC game in districts. They have a decent team but we are just hoping to shock some people.”

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