WILLIAMSTON – Earlier this season, Renee Sturm took a backseat as her backcourt mate Maddie Watters scored 32 points in a victory over Lansing Catholic.
And with Watters being the center of attention for the Cougars heading into Wednesday’s Class B district semifinals, Sturm got an opportunity to take the wheel.
The result was the same.
The senior point guard scored a game-high 28 points as the No. 6-ranked Hornets defeated Lansing Catholic, 64-43, to advance to Friday’s district title game with Perry.
“We knew they were going to try and shut her down,” said Sturm, whose team defeated its CAAC White rival for the third time this year. “Everyone else had to pick up the pace.
“It’s kind of hard to beat a team three times, especially a rival like Lansing Catholic. We knew they wanted to come out and beat us. …But we wanted to come out strong because it’s one and done.”
Sturm took no time putting the pedal to the floor as the Ferris State commit scored 14 points within the game’s first 12 minutes. The Hornets (18-3) went into the half with a 37-21 lead.
Watters, who is the team’s leading scorer, scored seven of her 10 points in the first half.
“She (Sturm) sets the tone and energy for how we’re going to play,” Williamston forward Allison Peplowski said. “She is the biggest leader on our team.”
Peplowski was one several Hornet players that fed off Sturm and helped the CAAC White champions begin the postseason on a high note. The sophomore, along with senior forward Jesse Jordan, scored eight points in the contest.
Junior guard Halle Wisbiski added seven points for Williamston.
Coming into districts, Peplowski said becoming a well-balanced scoring team was a major focus.
“Williamston just has so many weapons,” Lansing Catholic coach Kacee Reid said. “We tried to shutdown Watters with a face-guard and we knew that would leave a lot of other kids open, and we just hoped they would have a bad shooting night. And it didn’t happen.
“When you got six seniors, they know the deal – one and done. We had a dragon to slay. …But I could not be proud of my seniors and everything they’ve given.”
Ellie Dionise was one of Reid’s seniors that rose to the occasion. The guard scored a team-high 15 points, while knocking down three shots from long distance. Lauren Rule added seven points, which included a 3-point basket as the third quarter expired.
Sophomore Rebekah Poljan, who stands at 6-foot-1, scored 11 points and had several blocks on the night.
Contact James L. Edwards III at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.