Hornets Sting In Fourth Quarter
Stories and photos by Alexis Mercer
Both the boys and girls Newaygo varsity teams played at home on Friday night against Central Montcalm. And both lost the fourth quarter battles put up by the Hornets.
The girls game started slowly, with each team cautiously feeling out their opponent. Last year, Central Montcalm went undefeated in the conference, winning soundly against everyone they played.
Friday, despite Newaygo scoring first, the Hornets went up to a 10-5 lead. Then the Lions got their offense together. Jaxi Long hit two 3s to put the Lions up 15-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Central Montcalm came out in the second quarter very patiently, passing and waiting for the right chance to score. The Hornets hit a 3, Newaygo's Emmerson Goodin came back with a 2 under the basket, the Hornets' Bailey Vissman drained another 3, then Newaygo's Jaylee Long swished a 3 of her own. The quarter was like this: back and forth, no one willing to give the other team any room.
Jaylee Long then went on a small streak of her own with five points in a row to put the Lions up 24-18, but Central Montcalm's Maia Sexton fought back with under the basket points, rebounds and 2nd chance points, putting the Hornets back within 2 with 3:12 left in the first half. The first 16 minutes of the game ended in a tie with 29 after Anna Brummel drained 2 from the side.
This continual back and forth went on through the third quarter. It was a true battle of wills from two outstanding teams. Every player on the floor, every sub coming in to relieve the tired players who were sprinting with everything they had, was holding strong on defense and putting up smart shots on offense. With 3:00 left in the 3rd quarter the teams were tied at 35, and then to end the quarter, the teams were still tied but at 39.
Though the fourth quarter started with Newaygo's Goodin hitting a shot on top of the key, putting the Lions up by 3, and then the teams continuing to trade points for the first 5 minutes, Central Montcalm broke the battle with 1:34 on the clock. Sexton of the Hornets was fouled, making one of two, but she came back to make the next layup, putting the Lions down by 3. From this they never recovered. Central Montcalm possessed the ball, hit their free throws and sealed the game. The Lions ended with 46, Hornets 52.
The boys game started much the same as the girls; slowly with not much scoring in the first few minutes. The remainder of the game after those minutes was nothing like the girls' game, however. Instead, it was a game of big runs by one team, and long droughts by the other.
The Lions' Jarrod Wismar got one point off the free throw line to start the scoring, while the Hornets then hit 2 of their own free throws. It wasn't until Asher Vissman of Central Montcalm hit a 3 that the scoring got on a roll.
Newaygo went on a run its first run of the game with Carlos Magana hitting a hard earned shot under the basket, Pascal Hermann hitting 2 then Ashton Stephens stealing the ball right away and getting his own 2 to put them up 13-7.
The fast paced 2nd quarter led the Lions to make only 2 points in the first 3:08, while the Hornets took advantage of their created opportunities and scored 6. With time running out in the half, with the score tied, Newaygo's David Gonzalez took it to the hoop, scored and made the free throw off the foul, putting the Lions up 24-21 at the half.
The beginning of the 2nd half, however, the Lions looked like they were out of it and would be unable to recover, down 26-32 after turnovers and committed fouls. But then Gonzalez, a senior who did not play his junior year and coming off the bench for the Lions, hit a 3, and then 2, and then immediately another 3 to keep the Lions in the game, tied at 34.
Newaygo's Wyatt Mortensen hit 3 after Central Montcalm's Vissman hit a 3. and going into the 4th quarter, the Lions were down by 1, with a score of 42-43.
But then the 4th quarter took its toll on the Lions yet again. Carlos Magana for Newaygo was giving it his all under the basket, working hard for points, but turnovers and fouls plagued the Lions and this time, the Central Montcalm run was too much. Newaygo lost with a score of 50-63.
Carlos Magana ended with 13 points and 7 rebounds while David Gonzalez ended with 13 points off the bench. Coach Barrette said "We battled through some mistakes and some flu tonight, but came up short down the stretch. Hats off to Central Montcalm down the stretch, they made more plays than we did."