St. Ignace routs Houghton
ESCANABA — The St. Ignace girls wasted very little time gaining control of a Class C regional basketball opener Tuesday night as they rolled past the Houghton Gremlins 68-34.
St. Ignace (22-4) returns to the Escanaba High School gym to face Ishpeming (20-3) in the championship game Thursday at 7 p.m. Houghton finished 15-8.
The Saints, fueled by relentless full-court pressure defense, raced to a 26-4 lead after the first quarter.
“The girls were ready to go,” said Saints’ coach Dorene Ingalls.
“The young kids were getting right in there and kept the pace up, and our bigger girls played real good inside.”
St. Ignace scored the first 12 points before a 12-foot jump shot by senior Kendra Monette got the Gremlins on the board.
The Saints the concluded the opening frame with a 14-2 run, gaining their 22-point advantage on a lay-in and free throw by junior forward Emily Coveyou with 7.6 seconds left.
St. Ignace continued to roll, pushing its lead to 33-4 on a layup by senior Linnee Gustafston less than two minutes into the second quarter.
Houghton reached double digits on a reverse layup by senior forward Kara Pietila with 2:32 left in the second. By then, however, the Saints led 37-10.
Gustafson added a pair of three throws and Coveyou scored on a layup, giving St. Ignace a 41-10 halftime cushion.
“We talked about not getting caught up in their frantic pace, but they lured us into it,” said Houghton coach Julie Filpus. “They’re long, but more importantly they play real hard. We started the game about 2 1/2 steps behind. You can’t afford to do that against a team of St. Ignace’s caliber.
Houghton’s most productive quarter was the third when it outscored St. Ignace 14-13. The Gremlins, however, didn’t get closer than 57-29 through the remainder of the contest.
“The girls played hard, but they panicked a little bit,” said Filpus. “Once you beat their pressure, it’s hard to get into your offense because they pressure you on the wings.
“We didn’t start the season at the level we expected, then we started to get some good quarters together in the end. Our seniors were fun to work with, but this is hard for them right now.”
Gustafson led the Saints with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Coveyou had 15 points and Davis grabbed seven boards, including six off the defensive glass. Pietila hit 13 points and Monette had 11 for Houghton.
St. Ignace held a 35-32 rebounding edge and committed 17 turnovers. Houghton had 24 miscues.
“We didn’t make anything easy on the other team,” said Ingalls. “We’re a lot deeper and were able to keep fresh legs out there. Keisha got some big defensive rebounds for us. Only, we had some miscues on defense we need to clean up.”
Houghton 4 6 14 10 — 34
St. Ignace 26 15 13 14 — 68
Houghton — Pietila 13, Monette 11, Froberg 8, Trewhella 2. FT: 6-8; F: 18; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Pietila, Froberg.
St. Ignace — Shepard 5, E. Hart 5, Coveyou 15, Marshall 8, Gustafson 22, A. Hart 2, Davis 7, Felappa 4. FT: 13-22; F: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Shepard, E. Hart, Gustafson.