Some inspired second-half play helped the Manitowoc Lincoln girls basketball team outlast Roncalli 60-41 in a Lincoln Holiday Tournament game Friday night at the JFK Fieldhouse.
The Ships raced out to a 12-2 lead in the opening moments of the contest and held a 14-6 advantage after the first quarter.
It was the fourth time this season that Lincoln has held the lead after the first eight minutes. Manitowoc is 3-1 in those games.
“Having the lead at the beginning of the game is always really big,” Lincoln head coach Kate Deiters said. “That is something that we work on and talk about doing: getting up on teams right from the beginning and not stepping down.”
The Jets battled back in the second, pulling within four thanks to a 3-pointer by Erin Jagemann as time expired in the first half.
“We felt pretty good,” Roncalli head coach Ned Jacquart said. “We were pretty pleased with our first-half effort. We started down early and we battled back. We’ve done that all year, so it doesn’t surprise me.”
Roncalli made Lincoln earn each of its 22 first-half points. The Jets held the Ships to just three offensive rebounds in the opening 16 minutes.
“We talked about being physical. We’re giving up some size in there,” Jacquart said. “We did a nice job.”
Meanwhile, in the other locker room, Deiters was preaching intensity.
“I told them that they needed to get fired up and dig deep and get back to playing our game by doing the little things,” Deiters said. “We talk about doing the little things before, during and after games. The little things being: boxing out, talking on defense, pushing the basketball, making smart passes, running our offense.
“I just said to them, we need to get back to doing that. Who is going to do that? I kind of put it on them.”
It quickly became apparent that the Ships paid attention to their coach’s message. Lincoln started the second half on a 12-4 run.
Unfortunately, they beat us down the court. They hurt us in transition,” Jacquart said. “We knew it was coming, we practiced it. They just get up quick and do a nice job passing the ball.”
Lincoln pulled away in the fourth quarter, but the game was much more competitive than the score may indicate. The Jets regularly showed signs of life, but were unable to sustain momentum for the one run they needed.
“We just couldn’t make a push in the fourth quarter. We’ve kind of struggled offensively all year,” Jacquart said. “They (Lincoln) made that early push in the fourth and we just couldn’t answer it.”
Alex Cliff had a team-high 10 points for Roncalli.
Though his team came up on the short end of the score on Friday, Jacquart didn’t offer up many complaints about his squad’s performance.
“I was pretty pleased overall. I think Lincoln has a good team,” Jacquart said. “If we play like this the rest of the year, we are going to have some success moving forward.”
The Jets (2-5) take on Port Washington (3-5) in the consolation game today at 2:15 p.m.
Alyssa Grotegut led the charge offensively for the Ships with a game-high 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Alyssa Fischer added 16 points of her own for Lincoln.
The Ships (3-4) advance to take on Oconto Falls (5-0) in the tournament’s championship game tonight at 6 p.m.
“I just told them to take this game as a learning experience, like every game we play,” Deiters said. “We did a great job of retaking control of the game and we need to see that we can do that in every single game.”
Roncalli…6 13 13 9
Man. Lincoln…14 8 19 19 — 60
Roncalli — Mihalakakos 5, E. Jagemann 4, Clark 2, Pethan 5, Meyer 4, Vaca 6, Patek 3, Severin 2, Cliff 10. 3-pt: Mihalakakos, E. Jagemann, Patek. FT: 8-16.
Man. Lincoln — Kliment 2, Kotche 5, Fischer 16, M. Jagemann 12, Grotegut 17, Wrolson 3, Spindler 2, Winans 3. 3-pt: Kotche, M. Jagemann. FT: 14-20.