Whiteford drops season opener to Royals

OTTAWA LAKE – Whiteford got off to a tremendous start Tuesday but fell behind in the second half to Blissfield and couldn’t recover, losing 61-39.

“It was fun while it lasted,” Whiteford coach Les Manley said. “You’ve got to keep the hammer down when you are in that situation.”

Blissfield scored off the opening tip for a 2-0 lead, but the Bobcats went on a 22-2 run to close out the quarter and lead 22-4 after eight minutes. The key to the offensive output was a pressing defense that gave Blissfield fits. They extended the lead to 28-6 before the Royals made their run.

“We want to run that type of defense where we run all over the floor and create some chaos,” Manley said. “I think our legs just ran out of gas.”

Kara Stutzman made three 3-pointers in the quarter to help get the Royals going.

“They hit a couple wide open 3’s and the momentum just shifted,” Manley said.

Blissfield outscored Whiteford 57-17 in the final three quarters. Kinzie Kohler scored 12 points to lead the Bobcats and Emma Olrich made three 3-pointers.

“We changed defense and that was the difference,” Blissfield coach Ryan Gilbert said. “We went from a 2-3 zone to man-to-man, change the defense, change the game. We played with more intensity and got after them. Once we got the lead, we got a little more confidence.”

A field goal by Makenna Ricker with 4:40 left in the third quarter gave the Royals a 33-32 lead – its first lead since the opening possession. Back-to-back fourth quarter triples by Stutzman and Brianna Ford gave Blissfield a 51-35 lead with 4:52 to go in the game.

Stutzman led all scorers with 21 points.

“Being down 22-4 is not easy. I’ve never come back from 20 points in 12 years,” Gilbert said. “We didn’t hang our heads and were still confident.”

Whiteford had to replace four starters and six seniors from last season. Manley was overall pleased with the performance by several girls who were playing their first varsity game.

“We made some mistakes that are easily fixable,” Manley said. “Some of it takes experience, too. I was proud of how we started and played. We never quit.”

Blissfield 61, Whiteford 39

BLISSFIELD (61)

Stutzman 8(4) 1-2 21, Case 2 0-0 4, Noel 5(1) 0-0 11, Ford 1(1) 2-2 5, Ricker 2(1) 1-4 6, Mason 4 1-4 9, Ryan 0 3-4 3, Keller 1 0-0 2. Totals 23(7) 8-16 61.

WHITEFORD (39)

DiTerlizzi 2(2) 0-0 6, Ullery 2 1-2 5, Schober 1 0-0 2, Olrich 3(3) 0-0 9, P. Thomas 2 1-2 5, Kohler 4(1) 3-4 12. Totals 14(6) 3-8 39.

BLISSFIELD          4             19           19           19           –              61

WHITEFORD       22           6             4             7             –              39

 

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