Anyone who saw DeWitt and Haslett play on Dec. 14 wouldn’t have recognized them on Friday night.
Friday’s CAAC Red game came down to the final seconds, as DeWitt won 40-36. The last time the two teams met it was a thrilling 72-67 overtime victory for the Panthers.
“Tonight it was more of a half-court type game,” said DeWitt coach Bill McCullen. “We were trying to take away what the other team did and got a grind-it-out type victory.”
The biggest shots of the night came from junior Natalie Knauf. With the game tied at 36, Knauf, who stepped to the line with zero points, hit a free throw to break the tie.
On the Panthers’ next possession, she hit two free throws to put her team up 39-36.
The game proved to be a tale of two halves. DeWitt seized control early by jumping out to a 6-0 lead. Haslett could do little to rally, and the Panthers hit the break up 26-16.
“I think it made a significant difference,” said DeWitt junior Alexis Banaszak. “Our team as a whole came out really pumped and intense.”
But the Vikings looked like a totally different team after halftime.
They began the third quarter on a 13-2 run to grab their first lead of the game.
After that point, no team led by more than four points for the rest of the game.
Banaszak led all scorers with 12 points.
Sophomore Makenna Ott finished with 10 points for Haslett.
Although there is a lot of basketball left, sweeping Haslett is something that DeWitt can hang its hat on regardless of how the season finishes up.
“Our kids have just battled and hung together,” McCullen said. “I’m just proud of them.”