The SEC Red season is yet to begin, but it’s getting difficult to hide the excitement around the red-hot Saline varsity girls basketball team.
Saline dominated every inch of the basketball court, from start to finish, in a 74-16 victory over South Lyon Tuesday night.
All 13 girls in the lineup marked the scoresheet.
It was the third time in four games the Hornets topped 70 points as Saline improved to 4-0. The Hornets are averaging 70.5 points per game.
It’s a great way to go into the holiday break, coach Leigh Ann Roehm said. At the same time, the Hornets know they’ll have more difficult tests in January.
“We need to make sure we’re very present in the moment and we take time to enjoy success because every varsity win is a big varsity win. So we’re going to take this moment and we’re going to enjoy it, and then we’re going to get to work because we play a tough Traverse City West team over the break,” Roehm said.
Roehm emphasizes team play. So Tuesday’s victory was indeed one to celebrate, with every Hornet scoring.
“The game plan was to stick to what we do, which is to make the game about us. That’s all about sharing the ball and making sure it’s a complete team effort on the offensive and defensive end,” Roehm said. “We came through with that today. Every player on our team scored. Every player made a huge impact.”
While everyone got on the scoreboard, sophomore Ella Stemmer set the tone in the first quarter, when she scored nine of her team-high 14-points. Stemmer opened the scoring with a couple free throws and followed it up with a three-pointer. After a point from Steffi Bentley (nine points) at the free throw line and a basket by Erin Reilly, Stemmer added two more baskets on put backs. She followed that up with another point from the free throw line.
It was 13-2 Saline and Stemmer had nine points. In that first seven minutes of the game, Stemmer showed her skills, her outside shooting, and her ability to win battles for rebounds and put them back up for points.
Stemmer is following up her fabulous freshman campaign with a super sophomore season.
“The confidence and pose she’s playing with this year is a testament to the work ethic and the hard focus work she did in the offseason,” Roehm said. “She’s a hard competitor. That’s not just in games, but that’s the way she practices.”
The Hornets finished the first quarter a putback by Amera Boyd and a three-pointer from Liz Sekerak (10 points).
At various points in the game, different girls stepped into the spotlight.
After a basket by senior Maddie Welch to open the second quarter, Saline got three baskets from underneath by Steffi Bentley, the tall Saline junior who’s getting stronger every game. Two baskets came after winning battles for rebounds and the other on a nifty drive through the lane.
Midway trough the quarter, Nicole Sweetland got hot. She made a layup, three-pointer and went 2-for-2 from the line, scoring seven of her 10 points. Sekerak owned the last two-minutes of the quarter. She hit a free throw, made a layup, stole a ball and turned into another layup and then finished the quarter with a three-pointer.
In the third quarter, Emily Wilczynski, Kelsey Alexander Bentley, Welch, Stemmer (twice), Sweetland (a three) and Fiona Morcom made baskets.
Freshman Sophie Gasparovic hit two threes for Saline in the fourth. Emily Woodman and Leeya Lawson both scored twice from in the paint. And Welch also scored for Saline.
The Hornets are off until Jan. 4, when they visit Traverse City West. They’ll play Traverse City Central on Jan. 5. Saline opens the SEC Red season Jan. 11 at Bedford High School. They don’t play at home again until Jan. 18, when they host Skyline.
The Saline Post 3 Stars
- Ella Stemmer – The sophomore set the tone for Saline with 9 of the Hornets’ first 13 points. She finished with 14 points, six rebounds and two steals.
- Steffi Bentley – Scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds. Also had two steals and two blocks.
- Nicole Sweetland – So many girls deserve mention, especially Liz Sekerak (10 points, four rebounds) and Maddy Welch (seven points, four rebounds), but Sweetland gets the nod with another strong all-around game. She had 10 points, six boards and six assists.