EVART -- Evart’s girls basketball team opened the New Year at Manton with a 51-39 loss in Highland Conference action last Thursday night.

Mara VanOrder scored 13 points and Kristin Kullman netted eight points. Saige Nabozny added seven points.

“You could definitely tell it was our first game back from break,” said Evart coach Larry Brown. “We played well the first three quarters, then we ran out of gas the fourth quarter.”

The Wildcats were able to keep it close until the end.

Manton “is a pretty young, lot of their key players are young kids too,” Brown said. “They were able to get rebounds on us and easy putbacks. That’s our conference this year. We’re pretty even, the bottom five teams can win or lose each game. We’ll be more competitive when we’re in better shape. The kids know that. We’re a pretty skilled team. It’s a matter of getting the effort on the defensive end for the whole game.”

In Highland Conference action, Evart was home Tuesday with Marion and is home against McBain this Friday and is home Monday against Big Rapids Crossroads in non-conference play.