SSC girl win district opener; set to take on NEMC rival OHHS
HOUGHTON LAKE — Standish-Sterling got off to a strong start against district tournament host Houghton Lake and held on for a 64-57 victory in their tournament opener on Monday.
The Panthers, third-place finishers this season in the NEMC, eliminated the Jack Pine Conference champs by getting the kind of offensive balance that has, at times, been hard to find this season.
"It was a great team effort tonight," said SSC coach Kevin King. "We got the ball to go in the basket, and I feel pretty fortunate to get out of their house with a 'W'. Houghton Lake is a good team, and Coach (Eric) Drogt always has them ready to play."
The Panthers took a 30-23 halftime lead despite an outstanding first half from the Bobcats' Molly Collins, who had 12 points in the first two quarters.
"She can really play," King said. "It was the best I've seen from her. She just made some unbelievable shots. But I thought Ashlyn Gulvas, Heather Robinson and Kayla Hilyard did an outstanding job defending her by committee, especially in the second half."
Ashlyn Gulvas hit a pair of fourth-quarter 3-pointers to give SSC a 14-point lead, but after she fouled out Houghton Lake was able to cut into the lead as Haley Czada scored nine down the stretch.
"They just wouldn't go away," King said.
Hilyard led the Panthers with 14 points, with Ashlyn Gulvas, Ellen Walderzak and Kelsye Mielke each adding 11 and Abbye Gulvas nine. Hilyard also had 10 rebounds, four steals and four assists, Allison Collier had eight steals and four assists, and Walderzak and Ashlyn Gulvas each pulled down five rebounds.
Collins led all scorers with 20 and Czada added 16 for Houghton Lake.
SSC (13-8) takes on Ogemaw Heights (16-4) in Wednesday's 8 p.m. district semifinal.