Lady Cats’ trap traumatizes Bulldogs
EDWARDSBURG — Effort, emotion and energy.
Three Rivers flourished in all three areas and came away with a 46-30 win over Vicksburg in Wednesday’s Class B district semifinals.
The win improves Three Rivers to 9-13 and puts it in Friday’s championship game at 7 p.m. against Edwardsburg (19-2), a 45-34 winner over Dowagiac (4-17) in the other semifinal. Vicksburg finishes 10-11.
Three Rivers, which had lost its two regular-season games to Vicksburg 48-41 and 50-31, set the tempo from the opening tipoff.
“We’ve been trying to put all the bits and pieces together here for the last month now and we did that tonight,” Three Rivers coach Jason Bingaman said.
“Our ball pressure with our traps were able to slowly wear on Vicksburg and that was evident with how they struggled more as the game went on.”
With the exception of giving up 16 points to Vicksburg’s leading scorer Layna Steele, Bingaman was pleased with his team’s defensive showing.
“We left Layna Steele open a few too many times in the first half, but our defense turned into offense on multiple occasions. We didn’t settle offensively and were able to be patient to get the looks we wanted at key times,” Bingaman said.
Vicksburg held three early leads on Three Rivers in the opening period, including a 11-9 advantage after Steele made a pair of charity tosses. But the Lady Cats tied the score at 11-11 at the end of the period with a late steal from Arionne Fowlkes who dished the ball off to Cara Smith for a layup.
Rhyeli Krause’s layup put Three Rivers up briefly 13-11. Back-to-back three pointers by Kennedy Nabozny and Steele put Vicksburg back in front 17-13.
From that point Three Rivers went on a 10-3 run to end the half and grab a 23-20 lead entering halftime.
The Lady Cats scored the first nine points of the second half increasing its advantage to 32-20.
Krause drained a three-pointer and Hadley Miller and Izzy Taylor both banked in mid-range jump shots off the glass to help key the run.
Steele hit the second of two free-throw attempts for Vicksburg’s first points of the second half to make it 34-21 with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
Fowlkes converted a pair of layups and Tessa Hawkins and Smith had one basket each as Three Rivers built its lead to 40-26 after three quarters.
Fowlkes delivered a nice pass to Hawkins for a deuce on a back-door cut and 42-26 lead on the Lady Cats’ first possession of the final period.
Amy Kosiba hit a free throw for Vicksburg to lessen her team’s deficit to 42-27 with 3:32 left in the game.
Neither scored again until Krause was able to knock down a jumper with 2:10 left. Miller added a bucket to build the Lady Cats’ lead to 46-27.
Please see Thursday's Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.