Michael scores 18 to help MC girls beat Garden Spot

By on January 16, 2019
Manheim Central freshman Rachel Nolt (right) battles for position against Garden Spot’s Megan Fisher during last Thursday night’s Section Three game. Photo by Alan Johnson

Manheim Central freshman Rachel Nolt (right) battles for position against Garden Spot’s Megan Fisher during last Thursday night’s Section Three game. Photo by Alan Johnson

Lady Barons then suffer loss to Solanco

A troubling trend has followed the Manheim Central girls basketball team this season.

In nine of their first 11 games, the young Lady Barons were behind at the end of the first quarter.

And last Thursday was no different, as Garden Spot took a 17-14 lead after one.

“A lot of our games, we start down and that’s one of our weaknesses,” junior guard Kassidy Michael said. “But we’ve been working on trying to get each other motivated and trying to get each other to pick it up a little bit.”

Pick it up is certainly what the Lady Barons did starting in the second quarter against GS.

Forcing 11 of the Lady Spartans’ 27 turnovers in that stanza and capitalizing on clutch ‘threes’ from Michael, Rachel Nolt and Leah Minnich, Manheim Central ended the half on an 18-7 run and then went on to earn a 62-52 Section Two win in Manheim.

Michael finished with 18 points to lead three MC players in double figures. Rachel Nolt — one of four freshmen who scored in the game — added 17 points and junior Laura Good helped out with 12.

“We’ve been in a rut lately and this win was definitely pretty good,” Michael said. “I think we all came together. The young girls are starting to fit in a lot better and we’re working with each other a lot.”

Unfortunately for the Lady Barons, they ran into a tough Solanco team on Tuesday and suffered a 64-38 Section Three loss in Manheim.

The loss dropped Manheim Central to 1-5 L-L (2-12 overall). The second-place Mares, meanwhile, improved to 6-2 in league play (11-4 overall).

Good paced the MC girls with 11 points. Jess Cabrera finished with 15 points to lead three Solanco players in double figures. Aleksa Burger and Paige Phillips added 13 and 10, respectively.

In their game against Garden Spot last Thursday, the Central girls built their advantage to as many as 14 points, 45-31, following a three-point play by Michael with 2:22 left in the third, only to see the Lady Spartans climb back to six, 57-51 on a layup by Megan Fisher with 2:11 to go in the game.

Fisher led all scorers with 27 points.

But the Lady Barons held on down the stretch.

“It just comes down to getting that time and that experience playing together,” Manheim Central coach Amanda Burns said. “They’re getting to the point where they’re getting comfortable with each other and trusting each other.”

Fisher scored two of her four treys in a 14-4 GS run in the first quarter, putting Spot up 15-6. But Nolt’s triple and a transition layup helped MC cut its deficit to 17-14 at period’s end.

“(Fisher)’s amazing,” Burns said. “You could dig yourself a hole if you let her get open and be able to shoot. She’s definitely a great player.”

They were still trailing 19-14 when Paige Snyder’s fastbreak layup opened a burst in which the Lady Barons scored seven straight points, putting them in front 21-19 with 5:40 left in the half.

“We just needed to change up how we were playing defense a little bit,” Burns said.

“Our transition is definitely where we want to be,” Michael said, “and if we can get those steals, we’re one of the fastest teams, I think, and it’s hard to compete with us on the run.”

Fisher’s ‘three’ to put GS up 22-21, but Nolt countered with one of her own, and the Lady Barons’ half-ending 11-4 spurt put them ahead 32-25 going into the break.

The intermission, though, did nothing to slow the Manheim Central girls’ momentum. Treys by Nolt and Summer Bates put MC up 37-25 and 40-27. Then after Fisher’s layup cut Spot’s deficit to 40-31, Michael’s three-point play made it 45-31, and the Lady Barons maintained a 49-40 edge heading to the final stanza.

There, Garden Spot twice got as close as six points — 54-48 on a ‘three’ by Katlyn Varley and 57-51 on Fisher’s layup.

But Michael and Good combined to go 5-of-6 at the foul line for the Lady Barons in the final 2:11 and that was the ball game.

“That’s definitely huge for us because we’ve been playing a lot of tough teams,” Burns said. “Garden Spot’s a tough competitor as well, but one of the things we’ve been struggling with is closing out games. They were playing smarter, valuing the possessions, being able to get the rebounds, and control the pace of the game. All those things led to being able to close that one out and get a win.”

***

Last Friday, Fleetwood visited Manheim and came away with a 43-32 non-league victory.

The Lady Tigers, led by Michael Kaskey’s 14 points, took an 11-3 lead in the first quarter and then held off the Central girls.

Michael hit two treys and led the Lady Barons with a game-high 19 points.

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