Story and photos by Alexis Mercer
Newaygo’s Varsity Girls team was coming off a solid win on Tuesday evening against Hesperia. Friday’s second consecutive home game would be against a team with a more aggressive approach and speed to back up their aggression.
Chippewa Hills started the game just as anticipated: quickly moving up and down the court. But the Lions were ready and waiting with speed of their own.
The first half of the game the teams were evenly matched. The Lions ran their plays, getting the ball where they wanted but not without pressure from the Warriors’ defense.
The third quarter has been the Lions’ nemesis all season long, so it would be a true test if the Lions could make it through the whole game consistently. The girls set their heels in and proved that the 3rd quarter wouldn’t get the best of them.
Going into the 4th it was a tied ball game. Freshman Jaylee Long took over. She was not about to let the game slip away. And the Lions were victorious over the Warriors with a score of 53-46.
Jaylee Long had 19 points and 4 assists. Madison Bush had 10 points and 5 rebounds. Alexis Brocker had 5 steals.
Lions Head Coach Nate Thomasma said about the game, it was a "great team win for the girls. They really gutted it out. We battled foul trouble all night and still kept our composure. It was a tie ballgame going into the 4th and we put up 22 points. Very happy for this team. We have dealt with a ton of adversity and they have stuck together. We had a good week of practice this week and it paid off."
Newaygo improves to 4-10 (2-8 in the league).
The last time the Boys Varsity teams faced off, Newaygo came out victorious with a final score of 69-54. The first minutes of the first quarter in the game on Friday night, it did not look like the same teams were playing.
Chippewa Hills came out guns ablazing. And Newaygo couldn’t get the ball to the bottom of the hoop no matter what they did. With 2:36 left in the first quarter, Chip was up 13 points to 0. The crowd was quiet on the home side. It wasn’t looking good.
The next 2:36 were a different story. The tables had turned. Newaygo went on a 13-2 scoring run to make it a game. The defense picked up the pace on both sides as well and the second quarter ended in a 25-25 tie.
Coming out of the locker room in the 2nd half, the Lions were ready to dominate. The defense picked up, forcing turnovers and opening up scoring in the paint. A relatively quieted Connor Swinehart in the first half turned into an aggressive, scoring machine. Newaygo outscored the Warriors 24-15.
The final quarter the Lions put the hammer down, working together and getting quality minutes from the guys on the bench rotating in. The final score put the Lions on top 69 to 47.
Connor Swinehart and Mitchell Karrip both ended the game with 17 points. Cooper Heinzman scored 8.
The boys improve to an overall 8-5 record.