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Bay women rally past Samsons

Jason Juno | Ironwood Daily Globe Bay College’s JuliAnn Wickman, left, goes to the basket as GCC’s Airiana White defends Wednesday night at the Lindquist Center in Ironwood.

IRONWOOD — After losing the first matchup with Bay College last month, GCC coach Mark Movrich expected to be going back to Escanaba for the tournament game, regardless of the outcome of Wednesday’s game in Ironwood.

Even if GCC took the second of two regular-season matchups — an outcome that wasn’t out of the question, with GCC only losing by 12 on the road in the first matchup against the Norse — the win would split the regular season record between the two teams and force a coin-flip tie breaker.

“So it was almost like, No. 1, we had to win the game and we’ve still got a 50-50 shot anyway,” Movrich said. “After we lost to them in January, I was banking on going there anyway.”

The odds wound up not mattering, as Bay College didn’t leave it to chance, forcing 35 GCC turnovers and winning 80-54. The victory clinches home-court advantage for the Norse in the upcoming Region 13 tournament game against the Samsons.

Gogebic took a 20-12 lead into the second quarter. But Bay College won every quarter after that, taking a 31-30 lead into halftime before breaking the game open in the third quarter.

Gogebic seemed to overcome Bay’s first charge in the second half, but they couldn’t withstand the second one, falling behind 55-40 going into the fourth. The lead increased to as much as 30 points in the fourth quarter.

It was all about Bay’s pressure defense that forced the 35 turnovers and turned that into 39 points.

“The turnovers really were the biggest difference, because No. 1 we’re not scoring, and two, 39 off turnovers. That’s just way too many against a team like that,” Movrich said.

Bay wants to utilize its pressure defense with the speed they have on their roster. Coach Matt Gregory already took advantage of a lesson he learned in his first game leading the Norse — a Saturday loss to Bryant & Stratton — and didn’t slow his team down, even if it might have made sense in Wednesday’s matchup, too.

“They’re a quick team, too, so I said let’s play in the halfcourt,” he said of Bryant & Stratton. “It kind of backfired because it’s hard when you have been one way to just make switches to different teams that you play.”

It didn’t hurt that Bay plays all 12 players and Gogebic had foul trouble to deal with only seven players suited up.

“No. 1, they stepped up their defense a little bit and, two, I don’t know, we kind of quit valuing the basketball,” Movrich said. “Part of that might have been some fatigue, we had some people with foul trouble. We have a short bench to begin with and that kind of shortened our bench even more. And there were times where I felt we gave up on plays and they just didn’t.”

Samaiya Buchanan led Gogebic with 15 points and Airiana White scored 13.

Ontonagon’s Holly Wardynski led Bay with 20 points.

“She plays well, she’s a very determined girl, I just like her heart and her drive,” Gregory said.

Brooke Dalgord scored 14 and Haley Trudell had 12.

GCC (11-10) goes to Kennedy-King Saturday.

Bay College 12 19 24 25 — 80

Gogebic CC 20 8 12 14 — 54

Bay College — M. Ackerman 2, Wickman 6, K. Ackerman 7, McGuire 8, Hardwick 7, Wardynski 20, Mannor 2, Olsen 2, Trudell 12, Dalgord 14. FT: 17-19. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Trudell 4, Ackerman 1, McGuire 1, Wardynski 1.

Gogebic CC — Wiggins 9, Buchanan 15, Grover 9, Ross 4, White 13, Nickel 4. FT: 11-22. Fouls: 21. Fouled out: None. 3-point field goals: Wiggins 2, White 2, Buchanan 1, Grover 1, Ross 1.

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