All Basketball - Girls Stories
Dakota's Olivia Savage (21) drives to the basket against a Port Huron Northern defender. Savage scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Cougars over the Huskies to claim a Class A district title.
Basketball - Girls
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Savage beating VIDEO
Senior guard goes for 30 points to lead Dakota to Class A disrict title
Dakota's Olivia Savage (21) shoots over Port Huron Northern's Becca Richards. (Macomb Daily staff photo by David Dalton)
Dakota's Olivia Savage (21) drives to the basket. (Macomb Daily staff photo by David Dalton)
Dakota's Miranda Bates (23) looks to score down low as Port Huron Northern defenders converge. (Macomb Daily staff photo by David Dalton)
Olivia Savage has had these types of games before for the Dakota girls’ basketball team.
But on Friday night, in a Class A district championship game against Port Huron Northern, the senior guard took it to another level.
Savage scored a career-high 30 points to lead the Cougars over the Huskies, 54-49, to claim their fifth district title in school history.
“Honestly, I was expecting it to be the same, with the five starters hitting their averages like we have been doing all season,” Savage said. “But it didn’t work out that way. I didn’t even know I had 30.”
Savage’s previous career high was 20.
“What a display,” exclaimed Dakota coach Phil McCune, whose squad will face Sterling Heights in a Class A regional semifinal Tuesday at Lake Shore at 7 p.m. “That’s what a senior does at this time of the year. I was real pleased with her performance.”
With just two points after one quarter, Savage pumped in 10 in the second, including a triple at the buzzer to put the Cougars (19-3 overall) up 25-19 at the half.
“When you see a player hit a shot like that you think something special might be coming up,” McCune said.
Savage admitted the triple-try wasn’t her best attempt of the night.
“I knew we had five seconds left when we inbounded the ball, I thought when I turned around and threw it up there was less time than there was,” Savage said. “But I had more time. It ended up going in, so thank goodness. I kind of rushed it. It was one of those chucks that you hope goes in.”
After seeing that triple go in for Savage, to give her 12 points at halftime, McCune went and challenged his guard as she was coming off the court.
“I told her we need one of those special quarters from you,” McCune said. “And she went out and did it.”
Savage responded by scoring Dakota’s first seven points of the second half to push her team’s lead to 32-21.
“I started really feeling it in the third quarter,” Savage said.
After a free throw to begin her run, she ran the baseline and made a reverse layup on the Cougars’ next trip down court. She went the length of the court for her next bucket, ending with another scoop layup.
Then she sank two free throws to end her one-person run.
“What an awesome feeling to win this,” Savage said. “We got it stripped from us last season, but it’s my senior year so we’re going to try and make a run for it.”
Savage could have padded her point total with free throws down the stretch, but she missed her final four attempts.
“Unfortunately she didn’t have much left there in the fourth quarter, she was running on pure adrenaline,” said McCune, who has seven seniors on his roster.
Savage was just 7-for-15 from the free-throw line.
“My legs were exhausted in the end, but that’s no excuse,” Savage said. “I need to push through it next time, especially if we’re going to make it far in the tournament. It was a great team win.”
Dakota avenged a loss to L’Anse Creuse North on Wednesday to reach the final. The Crusaders ended the Cougars’ bid at a third straight district title last year, beating them in double overtime in the final.
“For us to get out of this district we’re very lucky,” McCune said. “We’re battled tested for regionals.”
Kylie Townsley chipped in 15 points to go along with six steals and four assists. Kylie Churches grabbed seven rebounds and Miranda Bates took down five boards.
“I’ll be happy with my normal 10 points and let my team score the rest,” Savage said when asked if she’s got another career game left in her this postseason. “As long as we get the win. That’s all that matters.”
PHN (18-5) got 14 points from Kaity Lawson and 10 out of Casey Fealko.
PHN 9 10 12 18 -- 49
Dakota 10 15 14 15 -- 54
PORT HURON NORTHERN (18-5): Brenna Murphy 6, Mckenzie Lance 6, Riley Fealko 7, Becca Richards 6, Casey Fealko 10, Kaity Lawson 14. Totals: 17 (4) 11-18 - 49.
DAKOTA (19-3): Rio Dudgeon 3, Olivia Savage 30, Kylie Churches 5, Miranda Bates 1, Kylie Townsley 15. Totals: 18 (4) 14-27 - 54.
Last Updated: 3/2/2013 11:19:14 AM EST