Big Bay girls earn Northern Lights League title
HANNAHVILLE — It was mixed results for two area basketball teams in the Northern Lights League championship games here Saturday.
The Big Bay de Noc girls retained their title with a 54-42 victory over Kinross Maplewood Baptist while the Hannahville boys dropped a 44-43 heartbreaker to defending champ Maplewood.
“They’re really a tough team,” said Big Bay girls’ coach Bob Pederson. “They’re well-coached, and it’s always a good match-up. This was a good tune-up for (Division 4) districts. Our girls stepped up. We played good defense, and that’s what saved us.”
The victory enabled the Black Bears (8-3) to remain undefeated through two seasons in the NLL. They open district play at Munising against the host Mustangs Monday.
Maplewood (14-4) drew within 25-20 on a 14-foot set shot by junior Halie Miller midway through the third quarter.
Big Bay responded with a 14-1 run, gaining a 35-21 advantage on a fast break layup by freshman Camryn Pederson with one minute, 59 seconds left in the third.
“I thought we were gaining on them, then they hit some big 3s,” said Maplewood coach Caroline May. “They rebounded better than us, basically. Although, they have some size. Both teams are young. I think we’re going to going at each other for a long time.”
The Black Bears extended their lead to 45-29 on a 15-foot set shot by sophomore Piper Jones with 4:46 remaining in the contest.
Maplewood began to chip away at its deficit, pulling within 51-42 with 1:30 left when freshman Chloe May’s pass set classmate Aksana Chromy up with a layup.
Camryn Pederson then sank 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the verdict.
Sophomore Alix Bleau, who sank four 3-point shots, led Big Bay with 26 points. Camryn Pederson finished with nine.
Chloe May scored 14, and freshman Finley Hudecek added 10 for Maplewood, which finished 14-4.
Both teams had 15 turnovers.
Maplewood Baptist 8 8 9 17 — 42
Big Bay de Noc 14 11 12 17 — 54
Kinross Maplewood Baptist — Henderson 4, Miller 8, Chromy 6, May 14, Hudecek 10. FT: 8-16; F: 15; Fouled out: Henderson; 3-point field goals: Hudecek.
Big Bay de Noc — Jones 4, Nedeau 7, Pearson 9, Bleau 26, Durrance 2, Massengill 6. FT: 5-14; F: 16; Fouled out; None; 3-point field goals: Bleau 4, Nedeau.
In the boys’ final, senior Dominic Bonnee hit the game-winner from the right corner in the final 4.3 seconds.
Following a time-out, Bonnee fouled out, sending senior Mason Thunder to the free throw line with 1.2 seconds left.
Thunder, an 80-percent free throw shooter, however, missed a pair which enabled the Black Bears to escape with the title.
“As soon as I hit that three, I got excited,” said Bonnee, who finished with 16 points. “Then, during the time-out, we talked about not fouling. I was trying to stop him, but he kept coming. I was just hoping he was going to miss them. When he missed the first one, I was thinking overtime. After he missed the second, I knew we were going to get the rebound. It felt like the game was never going to end at that point.
“It was definitely a fun game. It could have gone either way. Coach (Steve) May told us we had to take care of the ball.”
Thunder had drained a pair of gifters to give the Soaring Eagles a 43-41 lead with 15.1 seconds remaining.
“How can you ask for a better final,” said Hannahville coach Josh Eagle. “Both teams played real hard. I can’t say enough for our seniors. They’ve been our leaders all year.
“I know we still have (Division 4) districts coming up, but this league is like family. I’m sad to see them go.”
The game was close throughout, with Hannahville leading 33-28 after the third frame.
Maplewood started the fourth with a 6-0 run, tying the contest at 33 on a gifted by senior Micah Bailey.
“It’s unfortunate one team had to lose,” said coach May. “We wanted to set up in a half-court game. We didn’t want to get into a track meet with them. I thought we did a good job handling their press and made them take it off. We also knew they had good shooters and tried to make them shoot from deeper. If Hannahville plays the way they’re capable, they can beat anybody. This was a fantastic year for us. We finished 17-2 and won the regular-season and league tournament.”
Bailey scored 21 points, and Bonnee had 16 for the Black Bears, who committed 18 turnovers.
Junior Shaye Halfaday hit 12 points, and Gage Sagataw added 11 for Hannahville, which had 20 miscues.
The Soaring Eagles (10-5)will host a district game for the first time against Forest Park or North Dickinson Thursday.
Hannahville opened with a 70-41 triumph over Big Bay Thursday, then beat Beaver Island 59-45 Friday.
Maplewood 10 11 7 16 — 44
Hannahville 12 8 13 10 — 43
Kinross Maplewood Baptist — Bonnee 16, Sullivan 5, Bailey 21, Henderson 2. FT: 17-27; F: 11; Fouled out: Bonnee; 3-point field goals: Bailey 2, Bonnee.
Hannahville — Larson 5, Thunder 4, G. Sagataw 11, Halfaday 12, Metzger 3, Jackson 8. FT: 3-8; F: 17; Fouled out: D. Sagataw; 3-point field goals: Halfaday 4, G. Sagataw 3, Jackson 2, Metzger.
The Big Bay girls rolled past Bay Mills Ojibwe Charter 61-21, and Maplewood topped Mackinac Island 49-19 Friday.
Camryn Peterson led Big Bay with 20 points. Bleau hit 13. Freshman Ellie Nedeau scored 12 and Jones had 10.
“We wanted to set the tone right away,” said coach Pederson. “We saw they were vulnerable to full-court pressure, and that was our game plan coming in. We had four in double digits. It was nice to see that. When one struggles, somebody else steps up. It’s nice to see the balance.”
Ojibwe (1-5) reached the semifinals with a 44-40 victory over Hannahville Thursday.
“I thought we gave a good effort,” said Ojibwe coach Megan Dell. “We’ve been kind of off and on this year. We were under quarantine in mid-season, which limited the number of practices we could get in. We have a young team with no seniors. We have some things we can build on.”