MARINE CITY – Whenever members of the Marysville girls basketball team break out of a huddle, they shout the same message — “Together we win” — before taking the court.
The players, parents and fans all got that message from the 4-3 Vikings, who handed Marine City its first loss of the season in a 52-35 drubbing.
The Mariners, who started three sophomores and a freshman, still stand at a healthy 6-1.
The team effort was seen on paper with eight Vikings scoring, led by sophomore Kiara Kelley (14), junior Devan Valko (13) and junior Payton Husson (10).
“Kiara gave us a nice lift,” Rathje said. “It’s good to see as a team. We need a couple girls to hit threes, move the ball and get some girls some open shots.”
If the stat sheet didn’t show how well they played, they passed the eye test in flying colors with their defense.
The night didn’t seem fun for the Mariners, who were caught trying to break the Vikings’ plastering zone defense for 32 minutes. Shifting wherever the ball was, sometimes before it even got to the Mariner intended for, allowed Marysville to force Marine City into jacking up long-range shots. Marine City couldn’t answer the challenge, shooting 3-of-19 from long range.
“They have a really good screen-and-roll offense, and we worked really hard on not letting the roller get easy layups,” Husson said.
How the young Mariners react to the loss will be telling to how the rest of the season will pan out. Marine City head coach Jeff Austin said he expects his team to use this game as motivation instead of taking a step back in practice.
“As a coaching staff, we knew we would have some of these games,” Austin said. “But it’s a stepping stone, and it’s only going to make us better … the most important thing is how we react.”
The shining light in the Mariners’ loss was freshman forward Stephanie Abraham, who scored a game-high 16 points.
Marysville sent a message straight to Marine City’s flawless record to start the game.
In the first three minutes it was a 9-2 Marysville lead with four different Vikings on the board. The Vikings had no plans of slowing the show down, ending the quarter with a 16-4 lead that stunned the Mariners.
The second quarter looked like the Vikings would put this game from “big lead” to “completely out of reach” after senior Natalie Curley nailed a 3-pointer to take a 28-9 lead. Marine City fought back to muster up four points before the half ended, glaring at a 28-13 deficit heading into halftime.
The game was put out of reach when Marysville sophomore Mya Rhodes connected with Husson on a 50-foot fast break pass to which Husson made a layup to make the lead 41-13.
The fourth quarter was a solid one for Marine City, who outscored the Vikings 16-9. Unfortunately for Marine City, the comeback effort fell a couple dozen points short.
Both teams will see their next test on Tuesday, with Marysville welcoming in undefeated Center Line while Marine City hosts St. Clair.
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810) 989-6267 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Sheehan_Sports.