ONAWAY-The Rogers City girls basketball team felled one county rival on Wednesday.
The Hurons will get a chance to beat another one on Friday.
Behind a tough man-to-man defense, the Hurons came through with their biggest performance of the season and topped Onaway 41-36 in a Class D district semifinal at Onaway High School.
Rogers City will play Posen on Friday at 7 p.m in the district championship game.
Courtney Streich scored 17 points to lead Rogers City and the Hurons outshined a team that typically wins behind tough defense by playing a complete game.
“We played for four quarters. That’s something we forgotten to do. The last time we played we had a real good first half, second half we didn’t play so well,” Rogers City coach Dave O’Bryant. “We talked about it, we shot the ball, we held their shooters in check and limited our turnovers.”
Rogers City (3-14) entered the final quarter ahead 32-27 and held off a late charge from the Cardinals, who pulled to within three points with 1:04 left, but couldn’t rally all the way back.
After Onaway (16-6) went scoreless for nearly three minutes to begin the final period, Ashley LeCureux hit a triple to make the score 36-30 with 3:51 remaining. As the Hurons stalled in the next few minutes, Emily Estep sank a pair of free throws, Temara Lupu hit a trey and Kallie Shimel hit a free throw with 1:04 remaining to cut Rogers City’s lead to three, 39-36, with 1:04 left.
Lupu missed two chances at the basket in the final minute and Rogers City sank two free throws in that stretch to seal the win.
As it has typically done this season, Onaway spread the wealth offensively, but when it got down to crunch time, the Cardinals couldn’t come up with a big basket. Emily Estep led Onaway with nine points, LeCureux had eight and Lupu added seven.
Onaway took a 7-2 lead early in the first quarter, but the Hurons stepped up on both ends of the floor and ended the period on a 8-2 run in the final three and a half minutes.
Other than Streich, no one recorded big numbers of points, but every Rogers City player who played stepped up big on defense as the Hurons had Onaway looking flustered at times and made them rush enough offensively to force several turnovers.
“Rebecca Meredith stepped up big tonight as well as a lot of other girls. We played physical and matched Onaway’s intensity the whole game,” O’Bryant said. “We’ve worked to get ourselves into condition so we can play four quarters, man-to-man and the girls really proved that we can do it.”
Meredith added seven points for Rogers City and Logan Fleming and Nikki LaLonde each had six.
The Hurons led 22-21 at halftime and scored the first two baskets of the third quarter to take a 27-21 lead. Onaway went scoreless for almost four minutes to start the period, but bounced back after the game slowed down a bit and only trailed by five, 32-27, at the start of the fourth quarter. Rogers City held a nine-point lead with five minutes left before Onaway rallied back in the closing minutes.
Rogers City has already lost to Posen twice this season, so topping the Vikings will be a challenge, but O’Bryant is thrilled that his team has a chance to play for a district title after a tough regular season.
“A playoff win is huge. This is what we shoot for. We shoot for district championships,” O’Bryant said. “We play in a tough conference where it’s hard to win with St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie and Cheboygan in there, so our goal is district championships and we get the chance to contend for one on Friday.”
ROGERS CITY (41): Meredith 3 1-2 7; Streich 7 2-4 17; Fleming 1 4-6 6; LaLonde 2 1-4 6; Quaine 1 0-0 2; Idalski 1 1-3 3.
ONAWAY (36): M. Estep 2 1-2 5; Lupu 2 2-6 7; Ehrke 3 0-2 6; LeCureux 3 0-0 8; E. Estep 2 4-6 9; Price 0 0-2 0; Shimel 0 1-2 1.