OHHS girls put together team effort to beat Pinny
OGEMAW HEIGHTS — Ogemaw Heights' girls’ basketball team continued its mid-season roll Friday, outscoring Pinconning 33-13 in the middle quarters; key to a 57-34 victory over the Spartans that kept the Falcons a game behind Tawas Area in the North East Michigan Conference title chase.
The Falcons weren't thinking about Tawas on Friday; Pinny was enough of a concern. Ogemaw edged the Spartans 63-60 in December and Falcon coach Tim Hansen expected a similar game this time around.
"We knew they'd been putting up some numbers lately," he said. "We weren't going to overlook them. They'd won three of four, and when they beat Alcona by more than Standish did it was a bit of a wake-up call."
The Falcons got a bit of a wake-up call after the first quarter as well. The Spartans converted steals by Jessica Vidalez and Shannon McDougall into consecutive baskets to end the first quarter and cut an eight-point Ogemaw lead to 16-12; that, despite 11 points in the first eight minutes from Rilee Palm.
"We talked about defense and how our pressure and intensity needed to increase," Hansen said. We weren't coming to the ball (on offense) and they got a few steals."
A Vidalez 3-pointer made it 18-15 early in the second, but the Falcons ran off 10 straight points, keyed by their defense and crisp ball movement. Kristi Killackey scored at the halftime buzzer to make it 30-17, and the Falcons continued to roll after halftime with a 19-6 quarter that included a pair of Josie Wiltse 3-pointers and ended with a trey from Molly Keetch.
"We got a lot of things from a lot of people," Hansen said. "That's what 'team' is about.
"Every player scored — again."
The Spartans focused on containing Ogemaw's Ashley Thompson and succeeded at least in holding her scoring to 11 points. But Thompson took advantage of that to distribute the ball elsewhere, resulting in Palm scoring a season-high 17 points — one better than her previous outing against Pinny. Four other Falcons scored four or more points.
"When Ashley got first-team (all-NEMC) as a sophomore, it caused a lot of teams to really key on her big time," Hansen said. "But other people have been stepping up, and she's doing a lot to make things happen and get people the ball.
"We've been playing true 'team' ball."
Pinny's McDougall scored a season-high eight points behind Vidalez's 10 as Ogemaw held Lauren Pilot to just four points.
The Falcons (8-3, 4-1 NEMC) face John Glenn twice next week, traveling to Bay City on Monday for a snow make-up and hosting the Bobcats on Friday.
Pinny (4-9, 1-4) plays at league-leading Tawas Area on Friday, Feb. 6.