Mustangs stun Mid Pen in district opener
ST. NICHOLAS — The Munising Mustangs picked a good time to get their biggest win of the season.
Behind 33 points from Megan Matson, the Mustangs finished off the Mid Peninsula Wolverines from the free throw line for a 51-47 victory in a girls basketball Division 4 district opener Monday at Mid Pen.
The win sends the Mustangs to the district championship game against Rapid River Wednesday at 7 p.m. back at Mid Pen.
With 1:36 left in the fourth quarter, Mid Pen’s Camryn Croasdell hit a jumper to tie the score 45-45. Nineteen seconds later, Matson scored on a layup through two Wolverine defenders to put the Mustangs back in front.
“Megan Matson was spectacular from the free throw line, and she made some great plays down the stretch,” Mustangs coach Matt Mattson said. “She had a great game… She’s an all-conference type player.”
Mid Pen missed its next shot, and the Mustangs held on to the ball for as long as they could.
On her way out from under the Mid Pen basket, Munising’s Alivia Killips was fouled and injured. With Killips out and 27.6 seconds left in the game, Audree Hines went to the free throw line and missed the front end of a 1-and-1. However, the Mustangs were saved by Crystal Murdock who came down with the rebound.
The Wolverines had to intentionally foul, and Jenna Matson sank both of her free throws to make it 49-45 with 13.8 seconds left.
With just under five seconds left, Chevy Koski scored to bring the Wolverines within two, but they couldn’t prevent the Mustangs’ throw in.
Hines then made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 50-47 with 3.4 ticks left.
The Wolverines called timeout and tried to find their way up the court, but Megan Matson intercepted a pass and was immediately fouled. She then made 1 of 2 from the charity stripe to seal the game.
“We had some open looks, and we just weren’t hitting,” Mid Pen coach Phil Croasdell said. “We had some nice drives, but we weren’t getting calls when we were getting hammered — it’s just a tough thing to do (with that). We did what we wanted, and I think Megan got too many offensive boards on us. She’s a good player, but we have a lot of good players, too.”
Mattson thought defense was the biggest key to their victory.
“I think we just came out and stuck to our guns and did what we do defensively,” he said. “We played man-to-man the whole time, which is tough against them because they have some great 1-on-1 players. They beat us on some rebounds, and we could’ve boxed out better. The game plan was just to make every possession tough, and I think we did that.”
Megan Matson didn’t feel like a one-person show and believes her teammates were instrumental in her final tally.
“(The 33 points) feels really good, but shoutout to my teammates,” she said. “They’re the ones that helped me get there. It was my sister’s (Jenna Matson) first game back as point guard, so she worked the ball well. We’ve been practicing passing the ball. (Alivia) did a good job, and (Taylin Behning) does a good job to just bring it down and dribble. The wings do a good job passing it into the post when they see an opening.
“I’m just really proud of my team, my coaches and everyone. Everyone in the community coming out to support us was awesome. Seeing that many people in the stands for a girls basketball game (was awesome).”
Chevy Koski led the Wolverines with 16 points, and Kennedy Englund followed with 11.
Mattson embraces Munising’s underdog role in Wednesday’s title game.
“Rapid River and Mid Pen had beat us earlier in the year, so we’re the underdog,” he said. “Hopefully, we show up Wednesday and play well.”
With the Wolverines’ season concluding, coach Croasdell couldn’t help but feel some regret for the way it ended for his team.
“It’s too bad,” he said. “These girls are too good for this. They’re a heck of a team, and an awesome one to coach. Great kids, just love them all.
“The girls fought right until the end. They gave 150%. In my heart, the girls didn’t lose this game.”
Munising 9 14 11 17 — 51
Mid Pen 9 8 15 15 — 47
Munising — M. Matson 33, J. Matson 7, Killips 4, Murdock 4, Hines 3. F: 14; Fouled out: none; FT: 15-20; 3-point field goal: J. Matson.
Mid Pen — C. Koski 16, K. Englund 11, Croasdell 8, D. Englund 6, L. Koski 6. F: 18; Fouled out: K. Englund. FT: 10-19; 3-point field goal: K. Englund.