2017-02-23 / Sports

Big Fourth Quarter Powers St. Ignace Saints Girls To Win Over Pickford Panthers

By Kevin R. Hess


St. Ignace freshman Tessa Shepard attempts the threepointer from the corner in the Saints’ win over Pickford, Tuesday, February 14. Shepard scored five points in the game. St. Ignace freshman Tessa Shepard attempts the threepointer from the corner in the Saints’ win over Pickford, Tuesday, February 14. Shepard scored five points in the game. Valentine’s Day is a holiday for love, but there was no love lost between the St. Ignace Saints and Pickford Panthers as they battled at LaSalle High School Tuesday, February 14. Pickford came into the game with only three losses, to Cedarville, Engadine, and St. Ignace. The Panthers avenged two of those losses by beating Cedarville and Engadine the second time around. They were looking to make it three for three with a win over the Saints. Pickford came in riding an eight-game winning streak, while the Saints had won five in a row. After three quarters filled with multiple ties and lead changes, St. Ignace used a big fourth quarter to pull away and earn a 70-42 victory. This game was much closer than the final score would indicate.

Pickford (14-4, 4-2 EUPAC) came out strong, moving the ball well against the Saints’ (16-2, 4-2 SAC) pressure defense. Standout senior guard Kayla Rambo was able to drive straight to the basket or find open teammates early. St. Ignace junior Linnie Gustafson, and sophomore Emily Coveyou helped to keep the score close. The Panthers led for most of the first quarter and ended it with an 18-15 advantage.

The second quarter saw four ties and four lead changes as neither team led by more than three points. Both defenses were getting their hands on the ball, and the officials were allowing physical play inside. Gustafson and Coveyou continued their stellar play for the Saints, scoring 10 first half points apiece, accounting for 20 of St. Ignace’s 28.

Gustafson “had some tough takes inside and made moves we haven’t seen from her. When she operates from the high post, it’s a dangerous thing with her passing ability and scoring threat from that spot,” said Saints Coach Dorene Ingalls.

Rambo and Pickford junior Taylor Opolka were strong, accounting for 19 of the Panthers’ 26. The Saints outscored Pickford 13-8 in the second quarter for a 28-26 advantage at halftime.

Trailing by just two, Pickford Coach Greg Wright had to be pleased with the first half effort. Before the game, Coach Wright, father of former Saints standout and current Youngstown State player Kelley Wright, said that they were unprepared the first time around with St. Ignace.

“We just weren’t ready against their press [in the first game]. I think we’re much better prepared this time around,” he said.

Coach Ingalls agreed.

“Hats off to Pickford. They came in, played a great game, and gave us all we could handle,” said Coach Ingalls. “We’ve got a lot of work to do before the tournament journey begins.”

The third quarter saw five ties, but Pickford was not able to regain the lead. With every Panthers’ score, St. Ignace answered. Both teams played with a lot of intensity, with players diving on the floor for every loose ball and chasing down breakaways to prevent easy shot opportunities. St. Ignace began to crash the boards, with juniors Keshia Davis and Tasheka Battick leading the charge. St. Ignace held no lead bigger than two until the final minute of the quarter, when they were able to hit back-to-back layups to extend the lead to six. The Saints led 42-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

After Pickford tied the game at 36 in the third, St. Ignace used a 12- 0 run over the end of the third and beginning of the fourth, to take a 12-point lead. At that point, the Saints began to pull away as their depth was too much for the Panthers. St. Ignace controlled the fourth quarter on both ends, scoring 28 and only surrendering 6. Eight players scored for the Saints in the final quarter alone. Pickford’s frustration showed, with turnovers and in giving up offensive rebounds that led to easy layups for St. Ignace. The final margin was 28 points, but this game was even for three out of four quarters.

“Our last game [against St. Ignace] we played one good half. This game, we played three good quarters. We just don’t have the depth they do,” said Coach Wright.

“The support from our bench was very much needed [tonight],” said Coach Ingalls. “Tasheka had a great game on the boards and with steals.”

The Saints had three players who notched double-doubles. Gustafson scored 20 points, including 3/3 from three-point range, and 11 rebounds. Coveyou scored 18 and posted a career-high 12 steals. Davis contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Pickford was led by Kayla Rambo’s 19 points, followed by Taylor Opolka with 14.

St. Ignace will finish the regular season with a home game against Cheboygan Thursday, February 23, (Parents Night). Pickford finishes with two home games, against Rudyard (Tuesday, February 21) and Brimley (Thursday, February 23).

Saints Statistics: Linnie Gustafson, 20 points, 11 rebounds. Emily Coveyou, 18 points, 12 steals, six rebounds; Keshia Davis, 13 points, 10 rebounds; Jordan Belleville, five points, nine deflections; Tessa Shepard, five points; Tasheka Battick and Kiara Bishop, four points; Jessie Frazier, one point; Jade Edelman, six assists.

Panthers Statistics: Kayla Rambo, 19 points; Taylor Opolka, 14 points; Taylor Thurmes, five points; Clare Cottle, four points.

Saints JV Girls Defeat Pickford, 75-22

The Saints JV picked up a big win over the Pickford Panthers on Valentine’s Day, 75-22. Pickford took the early 3-2 lead, then St. Ignace went on an 11-0 run and 24- 4 overall to take and keep the lead. The Saints led 26-7 after one period.

St. Ignace clearly had the size advantage, dominating the rebounds on both ends of the court. The Saints defense held the Panthers to just two second-quarter points, taking a 43-9 lead into halftime.

The lead quickly extended to 40 early in the third after a 7-0 run by St. Ignace, and the teams played with a running clock for the remainder of the game. The Saints outscored the Panthers 32-13 in the second half to close out the 75-22 win.

Pickford played hard, but was simply overmatched. Bigger in size and in numbers, St. Ignace held the advantage in nearly every category. On top of that, St. Ignace played a great game, moving the ball well, hitting open shots, and limiting their turnovers. Kylee Horn recorded 10 assists, four of them coming on consecutive possessions.

“We were hitting our layups tonight,” said Saints Coach Garth Law. “When you make the easy ones, it changes the game.”

St. Ignace (14-4) had four players score in double figures, led by Madison Olsen’s 16 points (four three-pointers) and followed by Emma Feleppa with 15, Anna Hart with 14, and Kennedy Kammers with 10. Annyka Franklin led Pickford with 13 points.

Saints Statistics: Madison Olsen, 16 points, three blocks; Emma Feleppa, 15 points, 14 rebounds; Anna Hart, 14 points, six steals, five assists; Kennedy Kammers, 10 points, five rebounds; Riley Kita, eight points, four steals; Courtney Frazier, seven points, five steals; Kylee Horn, three points, 10 assists, five steals; Olivia Champion, two points.

Panthers Statistics: Annyka Franklin, 13 points. Bailee Stec, three points. Carley Cottle, Jenna DePeel, and Graceanne Winegard, two points each.

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