Evart girls fall to Chippewa Hills

REMUS — The Evart Wildcats put up a fight early, but the Chippewa Hills girls basketball team knocked off the rust and eventually cruised to a 63-49 win at home on Friday night in the Warriors’ season-opening contest. 

The Wildcats, 1-1, jumped out to a 7-2 lead after a triple from Kristin Kullman early in the game, but the Warriors bounced back to tie things up at 9-9 on a baseline jumper from Brooke Lewandowski with 3:30 left in the opening stanza. 

“I think (Evart’s early lead) was partially that it was Chippewa Hills’ first game,” Evart coach Paul Higgins said. “I told the kids if we could come out and hit them first maybe that would be enough to keep it going, but they came back and fought, and made adjustments, and they turned it around on us.”

The Warriors rolled for the rest of the period, outscoring the Wildcats 11-4 in the final minutes of the first on a one-and-one by Taylor Thomas free throw and a layup by Kendall Boone as time expired to give Chippewa Hills a 20-13 lead heading into the second quarter. 

Boone led the Warriors with four points of an 8-0 run to open the second as the Wildcats went scoreless until a triple by Brooke Belleville with 3:10 to play in the half. 

Evart’s Tabby Turley scored a basket and followed it up with a steal and a layup, but the Wildcats still trailed 30-20 with 2:10 left in the quarter and Lewandowski added a 3-pointer for the Warriors down the stretch to send her squad into the halftime break with a 35-23 advantage. 

Alexis Issette opened the scoring for the Warriors in the second half as the Wildcats struggled offensively again, going scoreless until the 5:10 mark. Evart’s Mara VanOrder brought the Wildcats back to the scoreboard with one free throw as the Wildcats pieced together a few buckets in a row thanks to their pressure defense, forcing a Warrior timeout. 

“I think our positives are that we executed our trap well at times,” Higgins said. “We were effective with that for parts of the game and we just kept fighting all night long...We struck through it and fought hard and we tried making a game out of it, we just didn’t have enough time.”

The Warriors recovered with back-to-back baskets by Thomas and Lewandowski to take a 48-30 lead into the final quarter.  

Turley paced the Wildcats with 14 points while Kullman added 13 and VanOrder put up eight. 

The Wildcats play Friday at Central Montcalm.