Lions 54 Vikings 51
It was a night of great entertainment. The Lady Lions were coming off a few tough losses where the third quarter proved to be their downfall and in need of a solid four quarter team effort.
Junior Sophia Frisbie got the scoring started with two free throws and a layup. TriCounty's Gracy Kelly found the bottom of the net for 2 but then Frisbie drained two more 3s to set the Lions on fire. Jaxi Long crashed inside the key to get 2. But then the Vikings' Alicia Bowen saved them from being in a hole too large with 2 field goals, allowing the Vikings to see themselves only 3 points behind the Lions at the end of the quarter.
The momentum swing was fierce in the 2nd quarter with TriCounty tying it up quickly. At this point the battle really began. Both the Lions and Vikings were fighting to keep their team with the advantage, but neither could manage to pull away. With the game tied up at 18 with 3:30 left in the half, Newaygo's Emmerson Goodin took it to the hoop aggressively and with command, seemingly making a statement. But TriCounty wasn't having it. Back and forth, Goodin another basket, but then Kelly drops a 3 from well outside the line to tie it at 24. The fast breaks were plentiful, the pace exhausting. Seconds before the buzzer sounded for the half, Bowen hit a 3 to put the Vikings up 27-25.
The second half was immediately a clash of strong willed girls who had zero interest in being the first team to let the pace slack or the ball be given up easily. Kendall Mathis rebounded the ball, setting up Jaxi Long for 3 to tie the game at 30 with 5:59 on the clock but TriCounty immediately put down a 3 followed by Ashley Bialek draining yet another 3 to put the Vikings up by 6. The defense took over at this point, making it nearly 3 minutes before anyone would score again. Bodies strewn across the floor, bruises already appearing on arms and knees. Bialek ended the scoring drought by hitting a 3 and then Goodin scored two to end the Lions' end of the drought. Then Sophia Frisbie, a senior and defensive spitfire, took control and made sure the 3rd quarter wasn't the end of the Lions again. She hit a 3 followed quickly by a 2. Jaxi Long hit her own field goal to tie the game back at 41 to end the 3rd quarter.
This game would be decided in the last 8 minutes. The Lady Lions started the 4th quarter as they usually do, with intensity and a determination to win. They went up by 6 after Frisbie hit a 2 and Jaylee long hit for 4 points of her own. A timely time out by TriCounty's coach, Alyssa Alger, got the Vikings back in the right mindset, however, and they came out scoring, putting themselves back within 2 with just under 4 minutes to go. Jaxi Long controlled the ball, took a foul on her made shot, and made the free throw. Bialek took her turn receiving a foul and made 2 of the 3. Newaygo tried to play keep away at this point, but TriCounty's Mackenzie Nagelhout hit a 3 from deep in the corner to keep them within 2 with only 39 seconds left. The Lions managed to control the ball, Jaylee Long got fouled, made 1 of the 2 free throws and their defense stopped the last attempt by TriCounty to get back in the game.
Coach Thomasma said, "The girls showed some toughness tonight. We have been scuffling the past few games and fell behind tonight in the third quarter but they kept fighting. It was a good win against a well coached TriCounty team."
Sophia Frisbie led the Lions with 17 points. Jaylee Long chipped in 14. Jaxi Long had 12 points to go with 7 steals. Emmerson Goodin rounded out the scoring with 11 points.
Newaygo improves to 5-4 (2-3). TriCounty drops to 4-4 (2-3).
Lions 77 Vikings 51
The only aspect similar to the boys and girls games on Friday night in Newaygo was the speed with which the players sprinted down the court for a full 32 minutes. While the girls stayed tied through the 3rd quarter, and close throughout, the Newaygo boys came out with a 7-0 lead in less than 2 minutes of play. And the scoring didn't stop there. Ashton Stephens, Wyatt Mortensen, Francisco Rios, Carlos Magaña and Noah Painter all found the bottom of the net time and time again.
Newaygo took full advantage of their speed across the depth of the team. Starters and non-starters alike were sprinting and moving with intensity like the home gym hasn't seen yet this season. To their credit, TriCounty didn't quit or slow down or lessen their intensity, despite not finding much reward for their efforts. Newaygo went up by 10 and then by 19, quickly climbing the scoring ladder. Going into the locker room, Newaygo was up 50-28.
In the 3rd quarter, Rios lit up the floor from behind the 3 point line, but the Lions' rotating players slowed their scoring a bit. In the 3rd quarter, the Lions only outscored the Vikings 19-14. And in the 4th quarter, the Vikings beat the Lions 9-8, but it wasn't enough to close the gap.
The Lions' head coach Joe Barrette said "Fun team win in front of a nice home crowd tonight. Starting to believe in the things we are trying to do and our kids' work paying off."
Francisco Rios had 14 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Carlos Magaña also had 13 points and 5 rebounds. Noah Painter earned 9 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds for the Lions.