Evart’s upset bid falls short against McBain NMC 35-28

EVART — Evart’s girls basketball team was looking at McBain Northern Michigan Christian for a Highland Conference victory Monday night.

But the Wildcats couldn’t muster enough offense in a 35-28 loss to the Comets.

Mara VanOrder scored eight points and Kristin Kullman had seven points to lead Evart.

“The effort, compared to what we’ve had since the Manton game three weeks ago, it was the best effort we’ve had, if not all year,” said Evart coach Paul Higgins. “Offensively we struggled. I’ll deal with the offensive struggle if we put the effort out on defense.”

VanOrder had four points in a strong first quarter for Evart, which ended with the Wildcats up 9-8. Evart went cold in the second quarter with only four free throws on the scoreboard.

Sydney Dick had five points in the second to spark the visitors to an 18-13 halftime lead.

Kullman had a three in the third quarter to keep the Wildcats in the game. Sarah Pluger had three field goals to help MNC stay up 28-20 going into the fourth. The Comet defense continued to thwart the Wildcats in their bid to penetrate the middle and play catch up in the fourth quarter.

But Kullman netted two straight baskets off two steals to cut the Comet lead to 32-26 at 3:16. Tabby Turley scored moments later to make it a four-point game. Dick scored for the Comets at 1:40 for a 34-28 lead.

“(Monday), our defense gave us a chance,’ Higgins said. “That’s all you ask for. Our half-court trap, we had some positives there. There were a couple of times we kind of broke down, they got right through it with our missed assignment.”

The Wildcats fell to 0-9 in the Highland and 0-13 overall.

“It was rough,” said Comets coach Casey Sigafoose. “It was not a very clean cut game. We didn’t distribute the ball as well as we normally do. Give Evart credit for that. Their pressure defense got to us.”

The Comets improved to 6-3 and 10-3.

Dick and Kylie Lanser led NMC with seven points apiece.

“At game time crunch time, you have to come out and pressure the ball,” Higgins said. “I thought we did a pretty decent job of that.”

The Wildcats are 0-9 in the league and 0-13 overall after Monday’s loss.

Beal City 60, Evart 22

The game between Evart and Beal City was postponed Thursday because of the weather and was played on Friday.

Evart trailed 15-4 after the first quarter, 33-10 at halftime and 46-16 after the third quarter and was outscored 14-6 in the fourth. Mara VanOrder had eight points for Evart. Tabby Turley and Natalie Belleville had four points each.

“Part of our problem is that was pretty much the first time we were in the gym all week,” Higgins said. “That was our first game in 10 days. That didn’t help matters, coming out as slow as we did. Turnovers killed us again.”

Evart faced Manton on Tuesday and plays Friday at Lake City.