Lady Pioneers avenge loss to Farwell

March 1, 2018

By Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

It wasn’t exactly the way they wanted to do it. However, considering the Clare girls basketball team had lost to Farwell earlier in the year, they’ll take the 42-40 home Jack Pine Conference win any way they can get it.

“We played a decent first half, but lost a lot of momentum at the end of the third quarter,” Clare head coach Kevin Richards said of the win on Thursday, Feb. 22. “Once we started turning the ball over, it became a mental thing. However, we pulled through it and got it done. It wasn’t pretty, but it gives us stuff to work on heading into districts.”

The Lady Pioneers led 14-11 after the first quarter and 21-16 at half-time. Clare appeared to be pulling away with things as it led 34-25 entering the fourth quarter, but the Pioneers had to survive a late Lady Eagle charge.

Clare’s Cami Miller (no. 4) and Peyton Hubel  (no. 10) battle with Farwell’s Harley Crawford (no. 42) for a rebound. 

Clare’s Cami Miller (no. 4) and Peyton Hubel
(no. 10) battle with Farwell’s Harley Crawford (no. 42)
for a rebound.

“We had a decent first half and didn’t feel bad only down five and I felt we could make some of the open shots we were getting we could make a game of it,” Farwell head coach Gordie Risbridger said. “We came out slow and at one point in the third we were down 14.

The Eagles came all the way back to tie the game at 40-all but pair of Natalee Kunse free throws gave Clare the final edge.

“Great team effort and I’m proud of the way my girls battled back and never quit,” Risbridger said.

Ellie Johnson led the Pioneers with 14 points, four rebounds and two steals, Kunse finished with 10 points, six rebounds, six steals and two assists, Brookyln Tocco chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds, Peyton Hubel added six points, two boards and two assists, Cami Miller had three points and two rebounds and Lainey Veenkant had one point, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists.

The Eagles were led by Rio Risbridger with 13 points, five assists and four steals, Jenna Odykirk had eight points and seven boards, Grace Saupe added eight points and six rebounds, Aliyeh Wyatt had five points, four assists and three rebounds, Hunter Sponseller had four points and six steals and Harley Crawford had two points and six rebounds.

Clare’s Natalee Kunse flies in for two points  during last week’s home win over Farwell.  Photos by Shannon Zinser

Clare’s Natalee Kunse flies in for two points
during last week’s home win over Farwell. 
Photos by Shannon Zinser

Farwell (12-8, 6-8) opened up play in the Pinconning class ‘C’ district on Wednesday against Meridian. Beaverton and Pinconning played in the other semi-final with the finals set for tonight. The district winner advances to the Morley Stanwood regional.

Clare opened its Big Rapids class ‘B’ tournament with a 45-31 win over Chippewa Hills.

“We jumped out early and did a nice job of making adjustments throughout the game,” Richards said. “We discussed a few things at half time and the girls came out and made those adjustments. Our girls did a nice job, it was a great team effort.”

The Pioneers put the hammer down defensively in the opening quarter, holding the Warriors to just two points, giving Clare an 11-2 lead. The Pioneers pushed that margin to 21-11 at half-time and led 34-17 entering the fourth quarter.

Kunse buried six threes and finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, five steals and one block, Johnson hit three from deep and netted 15 points while adding four boards and two steals. Miller had four points and two rebounds and Hubel had two points, seven assists and five rebounds. Olivia Haring had two points and Casidy Ogg had one.

Clare (12-8 overall, 9-5) JPC played Shepherd in the district semi-final on Wednesday night with Big Rapids and Central Montcalm playing in the other side of the bracket. The finals are tonight (Friday) with the winner playing Tuesday in a geographical regional.

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