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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Flat Rock escapes Huron's clutches, improves to 9-2 (PHOTO)

Paige Villemure, defended by Hailey Richardson (14) and Summer Callahan (15), had eight points and seven rebounds as the Flat Rock Rams just edged archrival Huron last week. It was one of three wins collected by the Flat Rock team. Photo by Tom Alexander

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By Jake Newby

The News-Herald



The Flat Rock girls’ basketball team faced one of its biggest Huron League challenges so far this season a week ago but the team managed to squeak past – barely – league rival Huron.

The Chiefs played a dynamic second quarter, fended Flat Rock off in the third, but just couldn’t quite seal the deal in the fourth.

The Rams improved to 9-2 on Wednesday night, beating Huron in comeback fashion by a final score of 37-35.

It looked as if Flat Rock would breeze past Huron early on when they kicked the game off by going on an 11-0 run. But those 11 points would be all they would muster in the first quarter, and soon found themselves trailing midway through the second.

Huron’s Savannah Floyd was the major reason for the comeback. She had her way with Flat Rock’s interior defense, throwing her weight around to the tune of nine second-quarter points.

“When Savannah decides she’s going to play hard there’s nobody inside that can stop her,” said Chiefs Coach Jim Kalbfleisch. “She’s solid. She’s probably the best post player in the league when she wants to be.”

Huron outplayed and also out rebounded Flat Rock 16-12 in the first half and as a result, they found themselves up by a slim margin, 20-18, heading into halftime.

Flat Rock came out of the break and seemed to continue to lack the kind of confidence they had in the game’s opening minutes. Rams Coach Marc Villemure said his team’s youth attributed to that.

“We have a young, emotional team,” Villemure said. “When the girls hit shots they seem to get up. And for awhile there they weren’t making anything and they just got really depressed. They started standing around on defense and then when we finally started hitting some shots it was uplifting.”

Trailing 28-24 going into the third, Morgan Villemure took the initiative to wake her team up when she hit two buckets from down low on back-to-back possessions to tie the game.

Tied up again at 31 a little later on, Holli Rhodes hit a huge three-pointer for Flat Rock to give her team a three-point lead.

Huron would battle back, but down by one point with under a minute to go, they had no choice but to foul to try to regain possession and take the lead.

Fresh out of a timeout, down by two, and with under ten seconds remaining, Hailey Richardson of Huron caught the ball at the three-point arch but was guarded heavily upon the catch and threw up a wild shot in panic. Luckily for her, the ball bounced off a Flat Rock player and out of bounds with 1.9 seconds remaining.

Richardson got another chance down low, catching the entry pass right below the basket with a clean look, but her shot was just a tad too hard. The ball bounced in and out and Flat Rock escaped with the 37-35 win.

Coach Villemure credited Huron’s game plan and said the outcome could’ve gone either way.

“We were very fortunate to get away with a win here,” he said. “I thought Huron executed their man offense brilliantly against what we were trying to do. And it really just came right down to the end there, with their player missing that bunny. We just didn’t play that well.”

Morgan Villemure led Flat Rock with nine points in the win. Paige Villemure and Rhodes each added eight. Paige Villemure and Marina Steffke tied for the team-lead in rebounds with seven.

Floyd finished with 13 points for Huron. Summer Callahan pulled down eight rebounds and Richardson grabbed seven.

In a quick turnaround the following night, the Rams came out on both sides of the ball and cruised to a 42-27 victory over St. Mary Catholic Central to keep their perfect record in the Huron League.

All five starters scored in the first quarter for the Rams (10-2, 7-0) led by eight from junior Hollie Rhodes.

The defense stifled SMCC (4-10, 4-4), which had its four game win streak snapped, into six turnovers and one field goal en route to an 18-2 lead heading into the second.

“I thought we had a great start. It was great to see shots fall and I thought we defended and kept them out of the paint,” said Flat Rock Coach Marc Villemure. “They love to drive and I thought we did a nice job holding them in front of us and defending the help side kick outs as well.”

The size and length Flat Rock’s Paige and Morgan Villemure frustrated the Kestrels throughout the first half. The pair combined for 12 first half points to go along with nine rebounds and the Rams led at the break 27-9.

The two teams came out for the second half and matched baskets in a very physical third quarter. Emily Nevel added six for SMCC, while Rhodes had four for Flat Rock and the Rams lead 37-19 heading to the final frame.

SMCC turned up the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter holding the rams to five points, but couldn’t score enough to get back in the game.

Overall, Villemure was pleased with his team’s play on the defensive side of the ball.

“I was most pleased with our defensive effort. I thought we kept them out of the paint. I thought we just kept them out of the paint,” said Villemure. “Holding them to nine first half points, I’ll take that all day, especially since they were coming off four wins … that’s a great defensive effort.”

Rhodes led all scorers with 15 points and three rebounds. Paige Villemure added 13 points to go along with seven rebounds for Flat Rock.

Morgan Villemure finished with four points and a game high nine rebounds.

To start the week, the Rams breezed to a 59-24 win over Airport.

A 21-8 first quarter advantage set the tone for the rest of the game. It was 36-12 at the half and 50-19 after three.

Morgan Villemure had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Paige led the floor with 16 points and also brought down five rebounds.

Marina Steffke finished with 11 rebounds and Paige Nemeth had seven points.



Sean McCabe contributed





Last Updated: 1/28/2014 2:59:55 PM EST

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