Evart girls set for district after topping MCC

Wildcats to host extremely competitive tournament this week

Emma Dyer (10) and the Evart Wildcats hopes to win a district this week.

Emma Dyer (10) and the Evart Wildcats hopes to win a district this week.

File photo/John Raffel

EVART – Evart’s girls basketball team closed out the regular season at home on Saturday with a 63-53 win over Scottville-Mason County Central.

Emma Dyer had 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and seven steals; Addy Gray had 18 points and four rebounds for Evart while Kyrah Gray had 15 points, five rebounds and five steals, Bri Cass had three points and two steals, Brooklyn Decker had five points and five rebounds, Ally Theunick had four assists, four rebounds and four steals and Logan Staats had two rebounds and two steals.

“The Evart girls played an excellent game against Mason County Central,” Evart coach Carrie Kunkle said. “We had well-rounded scoring, fantastic defense and a great team effort.”

Now Evart prepares to host the Division 3 tournament this week. The tournament starts Monday with Pine River (5-17) facing Farwell at  7 p.m. The winner faces Evart (18-3) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. In the other Wednesday semifinal, it’s Lake City (21-1) vs. McBain (16-5). The title game is Friday.

“The Evart girls basketball team has shown continuous improvement this season,” Wildcat coach Carrie Kunkle said. “As districts approach the team is confident, well rounded and mentally prepared. We enter the district as the first seed and hope to capitalize on that momentum. The Lady Cats have put in the work and now hope to reap the reward and win the Evart district.

“The weather has been challenging at times, however the team has worked hard to make up all games and practice affected. It is something that has to be dealt with and it affects all teams. It can't be used as an excuse.”  

It’s an extremely tough district field.

“Farwell matches up well against our Evart team with their guard play being solid,” Kunkle said. “Lake City enters the district state ranked and has a 20-1 district with their one loss being to Evart. They are a solid team with good post play. However, their one loss of the season is to Evart so we are very excited about a rematch. McBain is the other possible opponent.

“They are currently 15-5, are well rounded and play solid defense. We believe the Evart district is one of the toughest in Division 3 having four of the five teams with 15 or more wins. Three very solid teams will be eliminated by the end of next week. The winner of the Evart district should do very well in tournament play.”

As for the keys for Evart to have success, “We need to stay in our rhythm, playing our style of game, relying on our conditioning to apply pressure both offensively and defensively, continuing to have strong rebounding, and not backing down to other opponents if we get behind,” Kunkle said. “This team is built for success, they are strong willed, determined, and they have the hearts of champions. We will embrace this postseason play with confidence and determination.

“This has been a special year for Evart girls basketball. We have great leadership from our three seniors, Bri Cass, Logan Staats, and Addy Gray. We work hard everyday in practice. We strive for excellence and don't back down. No matter where we end this season's journey we are proud of all our girls.”

Pine River hopes to make some noise in the district.

“We've been up and down,” coach Steffen Halvorsen said. “We had a flat stretch in the middle of the season, but we've rebounded well recently and we've competed in games. With a young team, that's what we're striving for: to have a chance at the end of the game. The weather has wreaked havoc on our schedules recently. Luckily, with snow days, our girls have been able to make it to practice and come in ready to work as well. 

“ We're going to have to play team defense, rebound well, and take care of the basketball in order to be successful. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the girls are too.” 

Other Division 3 & 4 districts

Morley Stanwood (14-5) is in the Division 3 district at Lakeview and plays Ravenna (9-13) for a 5:30 pm. Wednesday semifinal date. The winner plays in Friday’s title game against Lakeview, Kent City or Holton.

Crossroads (12-8) tips off Division 4 action on Monday at Montabella against the host school. The winner plays Marion at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The championship game is Friday at Montabella.