The Saline varsity girls basketball team returned to its winning ways Saturday, defeating Traverse City West 49-36.
The game was tied at 22 at halftime. The Hornets outscored their opponents 18-6 in the third quarter to take control of the contest.
“I challenged the girls to remember who they are and to play for each other. They came out played great defense and did a better job protecting the ball,” Saline coach Leigh Ann Roehm said.
Nicole Sweetland led Saline with 12 points and six rebounds. Ella Stemmer scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds. Brooke Bauer and Kelsey Alexander each scored seven points. Bauer had five rebounds and three steals and Alexander had four rebounds and three steals. Erin Reilly also scored six points and had three rebounds. Maddy Welch (four points), Karsten Whitley and Asia Lindsey (two points) also marked the scorebook.
Saline led 16-12 after the first quarter. Sweetland paced the Hornets with six points on two three-pointers. Things went south for the Hornets in the second quarter. Saline wouldn’t have had much offense at all were it not for two great baskets by Erin Reilly. Despite scoring just six points, the Hornets didn’t give up much. The teams were tied at 22 at half time.
In the third quarter, Saline got it done with defense, better shooting from the field and good work from the charity stripe. Sweetland had two buckets and added two points from the stripe. Alexander, Bauer and Stemmer also made baskets. As a team, Saline was 8-for-11 from the free throw line in the third quarter and 16-for-23 for the game.
Saline did a better job of getting to the stripe, and when they got there, they made their opponents pay. Traverse City West, meanwhile, was 2-for-7 from the stripe for the entire game. Saline was led at the line by Stemmer. The freshman struggled to make her shots fall from the field. But she was a perfect 7-for-7 from the stripe. Welch (4-for-4) and Sweetland (2-for-2) were also perfect.
Saline led 40-28 after three quarters. Kelsey Alexander’s three-pointer highlighted the Hornets’ fourth quarter – but the biggest cheer may have come when senior Karsten Whitley came off the bench and scored.
The victory was a nice way to open 2018 – especially after a less than ideal ending to 2017.
“It’s always nice to get a win, but especially after losing our last game in overtime (to Gabriel Richard). We came out with something to prove and played very well,” Roehm said.
Senior Asia Lindsey returned to the lineup for the first time in a month.
“I was smiling ear to ear to have her back. She plays such great defense and she’s a leader out there,” Roehm said.
Lindsey’s time was limited because she got into foul trouble. While she had only two points, she contributed with speed and defense.
The Saline Post 3 Stars
- Nicole Sweetland – Sweetland got the Hornets off to a great start and then helped Saline pull away in the third quarter with six more points. She played energetic defense throughout the game.
- Ella Stemmer – She couldn’t make her shots drop – except at the field goal line, where she was perfect. She also played strong defense and was reliable with the ball.
- Kelsey Alexander – Scored some points driving the lane and from the outside and played tenacious basketball the length of the court.