HARBOR BEACH — There are plenty of reasons why Sandusky continues to be the premier girls basketball program in the Thumb area.
The main reason? The Redskins just keep on winning.
Even after enduring a mini slump to close out the regular season, the Greater Thumb East champions made quick work of this entire Class C district, capped by a 48-31 victory over Unionville-Sebewaing Area here Friday night in the tournament finale.
The 20-2 Redskins advance to the Class C regional at Bad Axe where they will take on Saginaw Valley Lutheran — a 75-52 winner over New Lothrop in the finals of the Montrose district.
Here Friday night, the Redskins started strong and never let up. They led 11-6 after one quarter and pushed it out to a 31-11 bulge at the break.
From there, all USA could do was try to chip away at the deficit, but the Patriots could never get into any offensive flow.
“We just struggled scoring,” said USA coach Dave Bitzer. “I thought in the first quarter we did a pretty good job. We did kind of what we wanted to do defensively. The problem was, we didn’t make our shots, so we couldn’t stay with them.”
Sandusky’s Emily Hale made plenty of shots. The 5-foot-9 junior post player stepped out to the perimeter and buried a pair of first-quarter three-pointers en route to a game-high 20 points. Whitney Fox added 12 points, including three triples of her own, while Lauren Krause netted seven.
The Patriots were hindered by their inability to handle the Sandusky press, something Bitzer felt was a key.
“We got away from our strategy on how to break the press, so I had to keep reminding them about that,” he said. “We had too many turnovers because we didn’t do what we wanted to do.”
USA was led by Miranda Fuerst’s eight points while Amanda DeSimpelare and Chelsey Bitzer chipped in seven apiece.
USA finishes the season at 11-10 overall.
“I think, and I think every girl would say the same thing, we were a little bit below our expectations,” Bitzer said. “Coming in, I think we all thought we could come up with a 15-win season. We let some games get away from us, and we didn’t get there.”
USA will lose just three seniors — DeSimpelare, Chelsey Ewald and Macarena Cobian.
Bitzer thinks his returning players, along with several additions from the 16-3 junior varsity team, will help USA climb the Greater Thumb West standings.
“I think we are on our way up,” he said. “We have some really good, young talent. We’re looking forward to the next couple of seasons.”
Class C at Mayville
Brown City 41, Vassar 36
MAYVILLE — Brown City gives the Greater Thumb East two teams at the Bad Axe regional after the Green Devils clipped Vassar.
The Vulcans actually led 18-14 at the half, but Brown City rallied with a 14-8 spurt in the third quarter and a 13-10 run in the final period.
Kari Burton led the winners with 13 points and three assists while Jennifer McClelland added nine points and Alena Sanson eight points.
Lydia Peplinski led the Vulcans with 14 points.
Brown City will now play Saginaw Nouvel in the regionals. The Panthers earned a 60-18 win over Beaverton in the district finale at Nouvel.
|Allison Hoppe snags a rebound for USA.|
|USA’s Chelsey Ewald drives along the baseline against Sandusky’s Kelsey Stauffer.|
|USA’s Ashlyn VanHoost shoots over Sandusky’s Ashli Lanctot (22).|