Women’s Basketball Teams Announce District Action

BIG RAPIDS — Women’s basketball teams enter the district tournament this week hoping to win the championship.

Big Rapids (14-6) and Reed City (9-11) open action Wednesday.

Reed City will take on Ludington (15-5) at 5:30 p.m. Big Rapids will face Monday’s contest winner Cadillac (7-13) against Manistee (4-15). The title match is at 7 p.m. Friday.

“We’re going to practice at Ludington on Sunday and check it out,” Big Rapids coach Jessica Haist said Friday. “We’ve never played there. It will be a different look for us.

Reed City manager Tim Beilfuss is hopeful.

“Ludington is the No. 1 seed in this district after finishing the season 15-5 and winning the 8 Lakes Conference championship this season,” Beilfuss said. “They play an aggressive style of pressing all over the pitch and mix up the man and the zone on the defensive side. On offense, they really want to work with their 6-3 center Keelyn Laird. They certainly present challenges indoors with their size.

“This neighborhood is just tough. Ludington, Big Rapids and Cadillac are playing great right now. Whoever comes out of it will definitely have won the championship.

Chrisitina Malackanich leads Reed City with 11.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

“For us, we will have to limit our rotations and do a better job on the defensive glass,” Beilfuss said. “Allowing second chance runs and turnovers have been two things that if we can limit, we can compete with the teams in this district.

“After winning five straight, we ended the season with two straight losses. We hope to clean this up quickly and regroup. This is a resilient group that has shown a knack for not giving up. We have grown a lot since the start of the season and hope to continue to do so on Wednesday.

Division 2, District 36 in Chippewa Hills

Host Chippewa Hills (5-15) takes on Standish Sterling (15-5) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Gladwin (8-10) takes on Ogemaw Heights (7-12) on Monday with the winner facing Clare Wednesday at 7 p.m. The title match is at 7 p.m. Friday.

“I’m expecting a physical, rough game,” Chippewa Hills coach DJ Newman said. “Standish is the favourite. The second seed is Claire. Both of these schools have a lot of playoff history.

Division 3, District 74 at Morley Stanwood

There are two games on Monday with Montabella (6-13) against Lakeview (3-17) at 5:30 p.m., and Ravenna (5-12) against White Cloud (8-12) at 7 p.m.

Two semi-final matches are scheduled for Monday. It’s Kent City (20-0) against winner Montabella-Lakeview at 5:30 p.m. and Morley Stanwood (15-4) against winner Ravenna-White Cloud at 7 p.m. The title match is Friday at 7 p.m.

Division 3, District 72 in Scottville Mason County Central

Pine River (7-12) takes on Harrison (2-14) at 7 p.m. Monday. The winner will face Evart (14-6) at 7 p.m. Wednesday. At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, McBain (17-3) takes on Mason County Central (14-6) at 5:30 p.m. The title match is at 7 p.m. Friday.

Division 4, District 108 in Marion

Crossroads (2-14) has a 5:30 p.m. game Monday against Mason County Eastern (9-10) while Pentwater (3-14) and Walkeville play at 7 p.m. The semi-finals are on Wednesday and the title match on Friday.

If CCA wins, the Cougars will face McBain Northern Michigan Christian (14-4) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Against MCE, “I expect it to be a tight game,” said CCA coach Elayna Cheney. “We have already lost twice against MCE, but for both games the scores were within reach for us to win. All of the teams in our district games are incredibly talented. We are a young team with mostly sophomores and freshmen, so we have a bit of a learning curve from that aspect of the game. For our team to win, we need teamwork, consistency and trust. Our team’s skill level and work ethic are there 100%. Our mental game and our basketball intelligence have to match that.

“I’m so proud of the way my team has played at this stage of the season. The growth the girls have undergone is amazing. It’s hard to believe that we are the same team that started this season. Jackie Cole and Mellie Thompson have definitely been our top scorers this season. Kaitlin Buys is key to our team’s defense, leading the team defensively with blocks and boards every game. Our publications, Emily VanLuinen, Selah Meeuwes and Hailey Pace, also had great rebounds. I’m very optimistic for the districts this year, and regardless of the outcome, these girls have made me proud every day this season.

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