SSC girls' top 70 for second time to beat rival Spartans
STANDISH — Breaking the 70-point barrier against a wounded Oscoda team was one thing.
Doing it again at the expense of rival Pinconning, which had been playing well of late, was quite another.
The Standish-Sterling girls basketball team's pressure defense worked to near-perfection Friday, setting up plenty of easy scoring chances and providing the impetus to the Panthers' 73-38 victory over the Spartans.
Whether or not the Panthers' roll of late can continue into next Friday, when they host Tawas Area, is another matter, but SSC is rounding into much more of district title threat than looked possible mere weeks ago.
"I'm pretty pleased," said SSC coach Kevin King. "We're playing much better than we were earlier. Everyone is coming together. Kayla Hilyard was outstanding again, Ashlyn Gulvas and Ellen Walderzak have really come on lately and Emily Meschke did a great job tonight filling in for Alli Collier."
The Panthers hadn't even had a chance to practice without Collier, their starting point guard who earlier in the day was in Saginaw having her appendix removed. But Meschke, making her first start, filled in capably, particularly on the defensive end where she spend much of her time shadowing high-scoring Pinny guard Jessica Vidalez.
"Emily had a real nice game," King said. "She did a great job dealing with some adversity, and you look and see that Vidalez only scored five points. She did what she had to do."
The Panthers scored the last five points of the opening quarter for a 13-6 lead, then blew the game open with a 22-10 second quarter.
"We've played some very good games lately," said Pinny coach Joe Herek. "But this wasn't one of them.
"Their pressure is tough to handle, and we didn't do a very good job of it. We'll keep working on it, keep plugging away."
The Spartans had been scoring in the 50-60 point range, but got few open looks at the basket on Friday. With Abbye Gulvas (15 points) hitting three 3-pointers and Hilyard holding down the fort inside with 21 points and 12 rebounds, the Panthers scored a season-high for the second straight game.
"We finally got to .500," King said. "We had those cancellations so it took a little longer than we thought it would. Hopefully we can continue to improve."
Paige Raes added 10 points; Ashlyn Gulvas had 10 rebounds; Meschke had four assists; and Hilyard added four steals for the Panthers (5-5, 2-2 NEMC).
Lauren Pilot scored 14 points and Chelsea Adcock added 11 for Pinny (3-8, 1-3).