Only Lions Left Standing
By Alexis Mercer
Comstock Park got a quick dose of the one-two punch of the Long sisters Wednesday night in the second round of Districts. Jaylee Long first drained a three, followed the next time up the court by freshman Jaxi Long. And in case anyone thought that might be a fluke, Jaxi quickly followed it up with a second 3 to go up 9-3 over the Panthers.
Junior Sophia Frisbie was given the assignment to defend Park’s offensive power house, McKenna Bent, who was the spark for the Panthers on Monday night in their win over Fremont. Bent was quieted by Frisbie’s quick feet and smothering defense, which left room for the Long girls to put on a first half show.
Jaylee Long ended the first half with 20 points, having drained 4 three point shots. Jaxi Long had 10, Sophia Frisbie 8, including going 4-5 from the line, and Kendall Mathis rounded out the Lions’ 40 points with her own layup for 2.
Park was quiet heading in to the locker room down by 12.
In case the Panthers’ fans were hoping the Lions would cool off while in the locker room, Jaxi Long put that idea to rest, draining a 3 to start the 2nd half.
Then Newaygo started to spread the ball around, with Sophia Frisbie, Jaylee and Jaxi Long, Kendall Mathis, and Emmerson Goodin all getting on the board to maintain the lead.
Park’s Bent was determined to fight her way back into the game, not ready to end her junior season. She popped a three and a couple field goals, pulling the Panthers within 5. The Lions on the line proved to be the difference maker. Key defensive plays by freshman Emmerson Goodin put her on the line, draining two and keeping the score headed in the right direction for Newaygo.
In a tense final two minutes of the game, the Lions stuck to their game plan, made crucial shots, and made the free throws they needed to win 62-51 and head into the District Finals on Friday night at 7:00 PM against Coopersville.
Coach Thomasma of the Lions said, "The girls played a great game tonight. They battled hard the whole game against a really good Comstock Park team. The girls came out ready to play early and then were able to withstand a couple of runs by Comstock Park. Frisbie, Goodin, and Jaylee Long hit some big free throws in the second half."
With their win, the Lions are the only Newaygo County team left playing for either the boys or girls.