EVART — First-half rebounding power boosted McBain Northern Michigan Christian to a 23-12 halftime lead and the Comets advanced to a 48-22 Highland Conference win over Evart’s girls basketball team on Thursday.

Both teams entered the game not having practice all week, due to the weather.

“It was tough,” Evart coach Paul Higgins said. “Coming back, it was very sluggish. When we had effort early, I thought we had a spark. If you don’t bring that effort all the time, then it’s tough.”

The game was tied 4-4 before the Comets (7-4, 4-3) started controlling the boards, including on the offensive end, and took charge over the Wildcats (5-6, 2-5).

It was 6-4 going into the second quarter. NMC was controlling the boards and led 13-4 on Anna Lanser’s 3-pointer. The Wildcats got back in the game on consecutive layups off steals by the Wildcats including one by Angela Gibbins, to make it 16-10. The Comets went on a 7-2 surge to gain the 11-point halftime lead. Madelyn Betham had a putback to key the NMC attack.

Kari VanPolen’s 3-point play gave her team a 26-14 lead midway in the third. Kelci Elder’s putback for Evart cut it to 27-16.  Kyleigh Burhans scored for Evart late in the quarter, but the Comets had a 33-18 lead.

Evart’s offensive struggles continued in the fourth. Lanser’s basket gave the visitors a 38-18 lead with 6;45 to play. Ally Sigafoose scored at 3:00 for a 44-22 NMC lead.

“We were sluggish and lethargic, kind of like the weather,” Higgins said.

“We haven’t had school all week and it took time to get some energy going,” NMC coach Jason Towers said. “Once we did, we played our game.”

Sigafoose had 14 points and 10 rebounds for NMC. Elder had eight points and Livia Hopkins had six for Evart.

“It didn’t help we had five days off with all these snow days,” Evart junior Kaylee Ladd said. “We came out strong our last game against Pine River.”