By Mike Gesler
Photos By Catalpa Photography
Central Montcalm 57 Grant 32
An undefeated Central Montcalm team came into Grant to face the Lady Tigers tonight in a CSAA Gold match up. The last time these two teams saw each other, the Green Hornets topped the Tigers by 23 points. The Hornets are currently ranked in the top 25 for the state, and #7 in Class B schools. Yet despite Central Montcalm’s dominance on the court this season, Grant still came into tonight’s game believing that maybe they would be the team to hand Central Montcalm their first loss.
From the opening tip-off, that conviction was exhibited. The Lady Tigers came out strong aggressively working the ball inside to junior center, Kylie Patton, who put the opening two points on the board. After a missed opportunity by the Hornets, the Tiger’s moved quickly, and found junior guard, Cecilia Male, open on the outside for three. Yet, like a cat toying with a mouse, that was enough for Central Montcalm. The Hornets settled in as junior forward, Hannah Putnam, drained two threes in a row that began a ten point run. But the Tigers were not about to get stung so easily by the Hornets, and managed some second quarter heroics to keep the game within nine at the half.
The second half would be another story. Maybe it was a week off of play, or maybe Central Montcalm is just that good, but at times the Lady Tigers would look absolutely confused as to what was happening on the court. This led to some pretty easy scoring opportunities for the Hornets as they outshot the Tigers by 16 points with three players, Putnam, Vissman, and Wernette in double digits. It’s during these moments that it is not often easy to see the positives. But in the face of adversity, Grant was able to collect themselves, overcome some of their lapses of mistakes, and mount some encouraging play. As Coach Paulsen told me, “We just ran out of time.”
“I was especially happy with what we were able to do offensively and defensively,” said Coach Paulsen. “That is a great basketball team. I think we had a run out opportunity to get it within six, and we miss a layup. They come back down and get an and one. Those are big swings. We still got open looks. Miss some, and a team like that takes advantage of it. That’s what they did tonight. But truthfully no matter who was in there, we did believe that we could come back at some point.”
The Tigers drop to 2-7 in the conference, and 3-11 overall. It would be Cecelia Male who would lead tonight’s Tiger effort with three threes for nine points, followed by Nichole Whan and Kylee Wemple with six and five respectively. Also scoring tonight for the Tigers was Emerson Cole and Kylie Patton each with four, and Kirstyn Throop and Alyssa VanSingel each with two. The Lady Tigers will now go on a three game road trip starting with Morley Stanwood this Tuesday, February 6, before returning home to see Tri County on February 16.