2017-01-12 / Sports

St. Ignace Saints Girls Hand Charlevoix Rayders First Loss, Defeat Brimley Bays

By Kevin R. Hess

Jade Edelman (20) and Jordan Belleville (22) of the Saints put on the full court pressure as Rachel Nesburg (4) of Charlevoix tries to get open. The Saints defense was key in an 80-41 win over the Rayders. Jade Edelman (20) and Jordan Belleville (22) of the Saints put on the full court pressure as Rachel Nesburg (4) of Charlevoix tries to get open. The Saints defense was key in an 80-41 win over the Rayders. The St. Ignace Saints girls basketball team had a winning week, bringing home two victories.

Tuesday, January 3, The Charlevoix Rayders brought an undefeated record to St. Ignace, having posted wins over perennially strong teams Petoskey and Cheboygan. They left St. Ignace with their first loss of the season as the Saints dominated the contest and won 80- 41.

The Saints offense started slow, but their strong defense and rebounding held Charlevoix at bay, with full court pressure forcing several turnovers. The Rayders kept it close with pressure of their own as they trailed by just two points late in the first quarter, led by freshman Elise Stuck. A buzzer-beater by Jordan Belleville ended the first quarter and gave the Saints an 18-13 lead.

In the second quarter, the Saints offense finally started to click. They scored 26 points, with strong inside play from sophomore Emily Coveyou and senior Keshia Davis, and crisp ball movement. Their full court pressure continued to frustrate the Rayders and force turnovers, holding Charlevoix to just nine second quarter points. The Saints doubled up the Rayders, taking a 44-22 lead into halftime.

In the second half, the Saints picked up where they left off. Junior Linnie Gustafson scored nine of the team’s first 11 points, and the lead quickly grew to 30. Charlevoix’s Stark fouled out midway through the quarter and the Rayders struggled to find their offense. When the Saints backed off the full-court pressure, their half-court defense was just as strong and continued to force turnovers. By the end of the third quarter, St. Ignace extended their lead to 33 points, 65-32.

In the fourth quarter, the lead extended to 40, leading to a running clock. The Saints closed out the game by outscoring Charlevoix 15- 9, and taking home the 39-point victory.

Coach Dorene Ingalls was pleased with the result and said it was a great team effort.

“I thought we played with the best intensity of the season. We moved the ball well and played with some grit. The girls are starting to believe, and it was a fun game to watch. Each of the 10 players stepped up and made plays. I’m proud of the effort and team work,” she said.

Winning teams and coaches are always looking for areas to improve, and the Saints are no exception.

“We need to clean it up a bit with our turnovers, and hopefully with more game time, that will take care of itself,” says Coach Ingalls.

Saints Statistics

The Saints had balanced scoring as three players scored in double digits, and five players scored at least eight points. Nine Saints players scored. Emily Coveyou led the way with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and six steals. Jordan Belleville scored 15 points and added three steals. Linnie Gustafson had 13 points, eight rebounds, five blocks and four assists. Keshia Davis had nine points and nine rebounds. Jade Edelman scored eight points and led the team with five assists. Tessa Shepard chipped in six points, six rebounds, and three steals. Jesse Frazier had five points and three steals. Kiara Bishop scored three points and added three steals, and Abby Larsen scored two points.

Elise Stuck led Charlevoix with 13.

Saints Defeat Bays, 63-15

The Saints defense was dominant again Friday, January 6, and led them to a road victory over the Brimley Bays, 63-15. Linnie Gustafson led the way with 15 points, six rebounds, five steals, three assists, and three blocks. Emily Coveyou scored 12 points and had eight rebounds and four steals. Jordan Belleville chipped in with nine points and four steals. Keisha Davis had eight points and led the team with 16 rebounds. Jade Edelman scored six points, led the team in assists with six, and also had three blocks.

“The girls showed great effort and energy two games in a row,” said Coach Dorene Ingalls.

Turnovers and free throws were the two areas Coach Ingalls highlighted as areas of improvement.

“We’re getting better, but we still need to clean up the turnovers, and we need to be better from the line,” she said.

Overall, she is very pleased with where the team is, and the direction they are heading.

“The light is kicking on for them and they’re really starting to believe.”

JV Girls Go 2-0

The Saints Junior Varsity also posted two victories last week. On Tuesday, January 3, the Saints JV team used tenacious defense and balanced scoring to defeat Charlevoix, 55-22. The Rayders could not compete with the size and inside presence of the Saints’ Madison Olsen and Emma Feleppa.

“The way Madison and Emma played, it made it much easier for the guards to be aggressive. They knew those two were behind them protecting the basket,” said Coach Garth Law.

Coach Law was pleased with the effort of his team.

“Kylee (Horn)’s driving on offense opened up the floor for our team, and Olivia Champion was a sparkplug on defense, deflecting a lot of passes and guarding aggressively. I thought those two really set the tone for us on both ends of the floor,” he said.

Olsen led the team with 16 points, followed by Feleppa with 12, and Horn with nine points.

Friday, January 6, the Saints JV defeated Brimley 39-21. Olsen once again led the way with 14 points. Courtney Frazier scored 13 and Kennedy Kammers led the team in rebounds with 10.

“The nice thing about this group of girls is when one struggles, another steps up. Kennedy was definitely the spark we needed (tonight) to get the win,” said Coach Law.

The Saints girls will be back in action Wednesday night, January 11, at Pickford.

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