Hurons top Cards in season-opener
ONAWAY-It was an old fashioned Rogers City and Onaway grudge match on Wednesday, with Onaway looking for a little sweet revenge on the Hurons after last season’s first round district shocker.
Things didn’t turn out the way the Cardinals would have hoped: the Hurons took a quick double digit lead in the first that it never lost in a 55-32 victory.
“We struggled in a lot of respects. We gave up too many unforced turnovers offensively and we had too many breakdowns on defense. I’m still proud of my girls for playing hard and still see a lot of positives in how they played tonight. It’s a work in progress,” Onaway coach Marty Mix said.
The first quarter was the deciding factor in the game. Rogers City took a 19-2 lead that set up head coach Gary Bisson’s first win with the varsity squad.
Courtney Streich led the Hurons in the first quarter with six points while Logan Fleming netted five, including a last-second three pointer.
Fleming and Streich were also defensive leaders for the Hurons with Streich picking up six rebounds and Fleming picking up six steals. Sarah Meredith, who had four points in the first quarter, also picked up six rebounds.
Fleming also led Rogers City with 13 points. Lexi Szymoniak led the Cardinals with 12 points.
Turnovers prevented Onaway from scoring for nearly the entire quarter, until Elise Arkwood dropped her only bucket of the night with just under two minutes to go in the first quarter.
Rogers City’s nine first quarter scores came from five different players.
“I like my team because everybody stepped up and played hard. I told the girls its not about us, it’s about progressing as a team and continuing the program and getting the girls a reward for their hard work,” Bisson said.
The game evened up in the second as Onaway found a more consistent scoring groove. Szymoniak led the Cardinals in the second quarter with seven points while Erika Price hit a three-pointer with just under a minute left.
The Cardinals scored 14 points in the second quarter but Rogers City notched two more points to take a 35-16 lead going into the second half.
Fleming was particularly potent in the second quarter, sinking two buckets, a free throw and causing a lot of defensive confusion with her steals.
Some of Onaway’s struggles can be attributed to injuries to three key players, including senior Mariah Erhke.
“We got to know that she’s still here even if she’s not out on the floor. It’s hard not to have her, but we have to know that we got five girls out on the floor doing their best and these girls played their hearts out tonight,” Mix said.
The third quarter saw Onaway’s defense clamp down on Rogers City, giving the Cardinals the chance to outscore the Hurons for the first time. It wasn’t enough to make much of a difference as the Hurons took a 43-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
Szymoniak was big for Onaway under the basket, picking up second and third rebounds to give the Cardinals extra scoring opportunities. Devin Bristley netted four points for the Cardinals in the fourth quarter.
Streich hit two baskets in just over a minute to help the Hurons pull ahead 48-25 at the start of the fourth quarter.
“This is going to be game by game. There’s always room for improvement, even in a win. You want to come to the next game with less turnovers, less mistakes and with tighter, cleaner playing,” Bisson said.
Rogers City travels to Fairview on Friday while Onaway faces its Johannesburg-Lewiston in its Ski Valley Conference opener on Friday.
ROGERS CITY (55): C. Purgiel 2-0-0-4; C. Streich 5-0-0-10; A. Quaine 3-0-0-6; A. Hilla 1-0-0-2; S. Bober 1-0-0-2; M. Quaine 1-0-0-3; S. Meredith 5-0-0-10; R. Chojnacki 1-0-0-2; L. Fleming 6-1-3-13; M. Hall 1-1-2-3.
ONAWAY (32): E. Arkwood 1-0-0-2; M. Badgero 1-1-3-3; D. Bristley 3-1-2-7; L. Szymoniak 5-2-7-12; E. Price 2-0-0-6; S. Wolgast 1-0-0-2.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.