Farwell girls edge Chip Hills in overtime

December 7, 2017

By Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

Farwell was playing catch-up for most of the contest. The host Lady Eagles finally caught Chippewa Hills near the end of regulation, and prevailed in overtime to notch an early season 49-45 girls basketball victory Tuesday night.

“These close games will help down the road to learn how to win close games,” head coach Gordie Risbridger said. “I’m very proud of the way my girls played and the way they keep competing.”

Chip Hills held a slim 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and clung to a small advantage at the half, 19-18.

Farwell’s Hunter Sponseller (no. 12), Aliyeh Wyatt (no. 34), Grace Saupe (no. 40) and Rio Risbridger (no. 11) line up for the start of Tuesday’s home win over Chippewa Hills.  Courtesy Photo

Farwell’s Hunter Sponseller (no. 12), Aliyeh Wyatt (no. 34), Grace Saupe (no. 40) and Rio Risbridger (no. 11) line up for the start of Tuesday’s home win over Chippewa Hills. 
Courtesy Photo

“We missed a bunch of close shots, just like Friday night against Gladwin and this allowed Chippewa Hills to gain some confidence and get the ball out in transition,” Risbridger said.

The Lady Warriors led 23-21 after a low-scoring third quarter, and still led 38-36 with under a minute to play.

That’s when Farwell’s Rio Risbridger sank a three pointer that staked the Eagles to a 39-36 lead with just 10 seconds to go.

The Warriors split a pair of free throws to send the game into overtime at 39-all, but in the extra session it was all Farwell as it outscored Chip Hills 10-6.

“We fouled at the (end of regulation) but luckily they only made one of their free throws,” Risbridger said. “In overtime Hunter Sponseller had a couple of big steals. She hit a three pointer and instantly got a steal and score to put us up. We were able to finish with better defense and closed out the win.”

Sponseller led the team with 16 points in the win, Aliyeh Wyatt had 14 points, Jenna Odykirk netted nine, Risbridger finished with five, Grace Saupe netted two, Katheron White had two and Lillian Albaugh scored one.

“Sponseller had another big night for us, hitting her shots and Wyatt came up huge for us attacking the basket and looking for her shot,” Risbridger said. “That is what we need form her for us to get to the next level.”

On Friday, the Eagles opened up Jack Pine Conference play in Gladwin, where it lost a close 40-38 contest.

The Lady Flying G’s led 11-9 after the first, 18-15 at the half and 19-13 entering the fourth.

Farwell inched ahead 38-37 with just over 10 seconds left in the game, but a frantic three pointer as time expired allowed Gladwin to spoil Farwell’s upset bid.

“We started the game out strong with our full court press and created a lot of turnovers, Gladwin had 37 for the game,” Risbridger said. “After the first quarter we went to our three-quarter trap for the rest of the game. We struggled to score and missed many easy shots in the first half.”

Leading scorers on the night were Sponseller with 15, Saupe scored 10, Odykirk had six, Wyatt netted four, Risbridger had two and Albaugh had one.

“Gladwin face-guarded Rio and they were looking to get her in foul trouble by driving the ball handler at her,” Risbridger said. “Hunter, who previously tore her ACL the past two years did everything we needed her to help us win the game… The lead went back-and-forth at the end with Odykirk making a couple of huge shots for us down the stretch, one with 11 seconds left. Gladwin hit a desperation three pointer off the back board to win the game by two that left the girls hand with 0.1 left on the clock. Definitely a difficult way to lose the game but we know we can play better and are looking forward to facing them again.”

Farwell (2-1 overall, 0-1 JPC) is in Harrison tonight (Friday), plays at Montabella on Monday and hosts Meridian next Friday.

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