By Mark Blentlinger
The Watervliet girls team came to town to visit the home court of the Schoolcraft Golden Eagle girls’ basketball team. It didn’t end well for the home team.
A slow start by both teams put the score at 6-3 visitors at the 3-minute mark in the first period. Caley Kirwin was fouled, and she was able to hit her 2 free throws. But by the end of the first period, the Panthers had stretched their lead by 6, to 11-5.
After the Panthers stretched their lead by 10, Schoolcraft Coach Kulczyk called a time out to give his players a little breather and try to interrupt the Panthers’ run. The Golden Eagles shots were just not falling, bouncing in and out of the rim. It was at the 2-minute mark in the second period when the Golden Eagles finally found the bottom of the net. Eight turnovers plagued Schoolcraft through the first half. At halftime, the Panthers had a large lead at 22-9.
After the break, neither team came out dominating their opponent. The 3-point shot seemed to be on point for the visitors who made the first three from beyond the arc. Even though the Panthers were starting to stretch the lead, the Golden Eagles were not giving up. They played aggressively under the rim, they got some shots, and got some calls that sent them to the line. The Panthers were able to add 11 points while the Eagles added 8, making it 33-17 for the visitors.
The gym erupted in cheers when Caley Kirwin stole a pass and drove it down the court for a layup and a foul. When the Panthers attempted to move it down court, a mis-handled ball gave Kirwin a chance to shoot and sink a 3. The Golden Eagles showed some momentum in the last 8 minutes of play. Aggressive defense led to another steal by Schoolcraft, also resulting in 2 more points. Even with a little spark of momentum for the Eagles, Watervliet was able to put together a run that the Golden Eagle defense just couldn’t stop. The visitors walked out of the gym with a score of 42-31, giving the Golden Eagles a record of 9-6.
By Mark Blentlinger