EVART – A good start and a strong finish proved to be enough for the Evart girls basketball team in Thursday’s 53-52 Highland Conference win over Manton.

The Wildcats fired out to a 9-2 lead early in the game. But Manton’s Jurrica Stanley found her scoring touch with 13 second-quarter points to lead the Rangers to a 31-18 lead at the intermission and control of the game. An 18-8 scoring advantage in the final quarter for the Wildcats, who had a 35-20 edge in the final half, did the trick

Tabby Turley hit a pair of field goals early to ignite her team to a 10-7 advantage after the first quarter.

But then Stanley and her teammates found the shooting touch while the Wildcats struggled to hit their shots. Tera Shepler netted a triple late in the second quarter for the 13-point halftime lead.

In the third, Mara VanOrder scored inside for the Wildcats, who trailed 34-20 at 5:35. Kristin Kullman’s triple followed by a two straight VanOrder layups narrowed it to seven points, 34-27, at 4:34.

Saige Nabozny and Turley netted a pair of triples late in the third quarter but Karrah Baker ended the stanza with a layup for a 44-35 Ranger lead.

Kullman swished in a triple and VanOrder had a putback to help the Wildcats cut the lead to 47-40 at 6:03. Kullman hit a layup and it was 47-42 a minute later. Taylor McLachlan hit from outside for a 47-44 score at the four-minute mark. Manton’s shooting went cold and Evart started taking advantage with Turley’s free throw making it a two-point game.

Both team turned the ball over as the game remained tight.

Kullman hit another three at 1:53 to make it 51-48, Manton. VanOrder’s steal and layup made it 51-50 at 1:21. Nabozny’s triple gave Evart a 53-52 lead at 0:40, but Evart turned the ball over with 22.3 seconds remaining. VanOrder had a steal with 10 seconds left. Turley went to the line after getting fouled with 7.8 seconds to play. She missed her free throw but Manton, despite getting the rebound, couldn’t get a shot off in time.

Stanley only had three points in the second half. VanOrder led Evart with 16 points and 15 rebounds, followed by Kullman with 15 points and four assists and Lydia Wetters with 11 boards. Stanley had 18 points for Manton, 3-6 in the league and 5-10 overall.

“This was a big win for us,” Nabozny said. “Being that we were a little tired, we need to get back in shape again. This will get us ready for our next game.”

Evart, 2-4 in the conference and 4-8 overall, was at home on Tuesday against Lake City in league play.

EVART 53, MANTON 52

Manton 7 - 25 - 12 - 8 — 52

Evart 10 - 8 - 17 - 18 — 53

MANTON (3-6, 5-10)

Jurrica Stanley 6(1) 3-4 18, Brittany Bauer 2 2-9 6, Tera Shepler 2(1) 2-5 9, Kirsten Reid 1 0-0 2, Tori Vogelaar 2 2-2 6, Karrah Baker 4 3-6 11. Totals 17 (2) 12-26 52.

EVART (2-4, 4-8)

Kristin Kullman 1(4) 1-2 15, Tabitha Turley 2(1) 1-5 8, Mara VanOrder 6 4-6 16, Saige Nabozny 0(2) 0-0 6, Taylor McLachlan 2 0-0 4, Lydia Wetters 2 0-0 4, Sydney Cleland 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 (7) 6-13 53.