By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Manchester Lady Dutch Girls basketball team, 6-3 (3-2), fell to the Michigan Center Cardinals, 11-0 (7-0), at home on Jan. 25, 57-25.
After the Lady Dutch started the game with a 5-4 lead, the Cardinals, who didn’t lose much from their state semifinal run last season, ended the quarter on a 18-4 run to take a 22-9 lead and never looked back.
Turnovers were the difference in the first half, the Lady Dutch had 12 before the break and 19 overall as the Cardinals played a stingy, physical defense.
“They played physical, there’s nothing finesse about their game,” said Manchester head coach Corey Fether. “We have to get better at playing physical teams. That’s out biggest weakness. It’s hard to run an offense against that physical defense.
Lady Dutch senior guard Mackenzie Pietryzk led the team with four points in the first and eight points overall as the Lady Dutch have been held to their season low in back to back games.
In the second quarter turnovers continued to be a problem as the Cardinals began to get out in transition. The transition game is also a big part of the Lady Dutch offense, addressing that and the top two Lady Dutch options, seniors Avery Collins and Jayden Humphrey, were top priorities for the Cardinals.
“(We wanted to) key off of them and have help side and sagging defense waiting for them when they got there,” said Cardinals head coach Joe Lusk on his plans for the Lady Dutch duo.
Collins, normally the leading scorer for the Lady Dutch, was held to a season low six points guarded by Cardinals junior guard Teagan Haynes.
“She just played squared up defense and didn’t let her cut by or between her and the ball which we stress,” said Lusk.
Only one field goal was scored in the second quarter by the Cardinals, but they still made five free throws and took a 46-24 lead into the half
Throughout second quarter and second half the Lady Dutch created chances at the rim but weren’t able to get a majority of them to drop as the Cardinals eliminated most second chance opportunities for the Lady Dutch by controlling the boards from the tip.
After the break the Cardinals outscored the Lady Dutch 18-9 in the second half to win handily, 57-25.
Cardinals junior Alize Tripp led all scorers with 16 while her sister, sophomore Shealyn Tripp, added 13.
This marks the first losing steak for the Lady Dutch this season after their Jan. 23 game was cancelled.
“Just to learn where we need to be,” said Fether when asked what he wants his team to take away from matchups against top teams. “We’ve got to learn to handle the pressure, plays are gonna break down against teams like that. We have to be better at spacing and attacking what’s there.”