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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Flat Rock defeats Huron in district championship (PHOTO)

Morgan Villemure knocked down a pair of first-half triples in Flat Rock's 41-34 victory over Huron.

The Flat Rock girls’ basketball team has patiently waited for another shot at a district championship after being upended in overtime by Huron in the finals a year ago.

The veteran Rams embodied the old adage of “good things come to those who wait” on Friday night with a 41-34 victory over the Chiefs in the Class B district finals in front of a home crowd in Flat Rock.

“I’m really excited about winning districts,” Flat Rock Coach Marc Villemure said. “There’s always pressure playing at home and it’s so hard.

“Huron came to play and I knew they would. They’ve been here before. We saw them last year and they have a lot of seniors and they didn’t get flustered at all.”

The teams traded one-possession leads in the early going, but the Rams were able to build a 10-point lead at the end of one quarter – 17-7 – after holding Huron scoreless for over four minutes. Flat Rock’s Breanna Keethler led the Rams with nine points in the quarter while Huron’s Lissa Kowalewski scored six.

This run would be vital for the Rams as played remained equal over the next three quarters with Huron actually holding a 27-24 advantage the rest of the way.

The Rams continued to have trouble with Huron’s Kowalewski down low in the second and the senior poured in six more points in the quarter, but the Chiefs could get no closer at half. A balanced scoring effort from Flat Rock that saw all five starters score at least one point led to a 27-17 lead at the half.

The Chiefs got to within six on multiple occasions in the third quarter, but Flat Rock’s Morgan Kaiser and Haley Boyer gave inspired defensive efforts in the quarter to keep the visitors at arm’s length – 36-27 – entering the fourth quarter.

Both teams went ice cold early in the fourth with only one point being scored in the first five and a half minutes of the quarter. The Rams led 39-29 with 2:50 remaining, but Huron’s Brianne Leffew kept things interesting with five straight points to bring the Chiefs within five with 30 seconds remaining.

The ending was anticlimactic as solid ball Flat Rock ball movement kept the Rams from being fouled and resulted in an easy layup with less than 10 seconds remaining to secure second district championship in three years for the hosts.

“I thought we possessed the ball and showed some poise, we just didn’t hit some free throws,” Villemure said. “Fortunately, we got away with it. I think we missed two or three front-ends of one-and-ones and we could have gotten it to ten and then we missed an assignment down there.

“You don’t want to be hanging around with a minute to go and only up five because you never know what can happen. Hopefully we can clean that up.”

All five Flat Rock starters scored at least six points, led by Keethler’s 12. Kaiser had eight points, four rebounds and four steals, Paige Villemure had seven points, five rebounds and four assists, Boyer had six points and eight boards and Morgan Villemure knocked down a pair of three-pointers for six points.

“We just get a lot of contributions from different people,” Villemure said. “It’s been the way we’ve been playing all year. We don’t just rely on one player and that makes a great team.”

The win allows the experienced Rams to cross off another team goal from a season-long checklist.

“That was one of our goals,” Villemure said. “League was one and then district title was the second and team wins for a season was our third, which we got.

“Now the next step is hopefully to get a regional. That’s the next progression. Hopefully we get some shots to fall and anything can happen in a tournament.”

The district tournament taking place in the friendly confines of Flat Rock High School made the win even more special for the team’s seniors.

“It’s amazing,” said Boyer, who is one of seven seniors who played their last home game on Friday. “I don’t really know what else to say about it. It’s just amazing.”

Despite the loss, Huron Coach Jim Kalbfleisch was pleased with his team’s resolve in making it back to the district finals and competing with one of the best teams in the state.

“I thought these kids did a good job and it was a good year for them,” Kalbfleisch. “We lost a lot last year and our seniors did a great job of stepping up and playing well all year.”

Kowalewski led all scorers with 16 points and pulled down five rebounds.

“She’s really done a great job all year,” Kalbfleisch said. “She just keeps getting better and better.

“She’s probably the most improved player in the whole Downriver. She’s really worked on her game a lot and she’s gotten better.”

Lefew had seven and Savannah Floyd added four in the loss.

The Rams will face Ida in the Class B regional semifinals at Ladywood High School in Livonia on Tuesday.









Last Updated: 3/1/2013 11:32:59 PM EST

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