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The Flat Rock and Grosse Ile basketball teams battled hard all night, but when all was said and done it was Alexis Highers (13) and the Rams who won the contest 48-38. Photo by Dave Chapman

Basketball - Girls

GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Rams top Grosse Ile, secure Huron League Championship (PHOTO)

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If the Flat Rock girls’ basketball team didn’t know just how important an early lead was before Monday’s game, they definitely knew at the end.

Things got tight down do the wire in the much anticipated match up between the Rams and Grosse Ile but the early lead and some timely baskets and free throws late in the game, secured the win for the Huron League undefeated Rams who won the game 48-38.

The win also secured Flat Rock the Huron League championship for the second consecutive year.

Flat Rock entered the fourth quarter with just a six point lead and started to pull away early when Paige Nemeth hit an early three and Morgan Villemure followed with a field goal for a 34-26 advantage.

But Grosse Ile wasn’t going down easy.

Kate Tobin came up with a field goal and a triple to put the Red Devils right back in the game, down just four points at 37-33.

That’s when Flat Rock’s Hannah Myre showed up.

The sophomore came up with a rebound and two quick field goals for a 41-33 Flat Rock lead with about two minutes to go.

“Hannah came up with a coupe of big baskets at the end to give us cushion,” Flat Rock Coach Marc Villemure said. “That’s what she does. She rebounds well and she’s always in the right place at the right time.

“I’m glad she was there because we needed just a little cushion.”

The Rams took a commanding 7-0 lead to start the game with work from the Villemure sisters.

Paige opened the scoring with a triple and then Morgan went to work, finishing the quarter with 11 points.

Grosse Ile got on board with a field goal from Tobin, but triples form Flat Rock’s Morgan Villemure, Marina Steffke and Kassisdy Wilson gave the Rams a 20-10 lead after eight minutes.

The Red Devils won the next two quarters to make things close down the stretch.

In the second quarter, Tobin put up five points while Swick put up four as the battle continued. The Devils pressed hard, the Flat Rock still took a 28-21 lead into the half.

The halftime break gave each team plenty of time to regroup, adjust and prepare to come out attacking, but then something strange happened.

Morgan Villemure made a free throw for a 29-21 advantage and then no one scored for over three minutes.

The Villemure’s got into foul trouble and Grosse Ile came up with some big defense stops in the outing, but only managed to put up three points.

“I feel that’s where we lose our opportunity to win the game was in the third quarter,” Grosse Ile Coach Sandy Tobin said. “They had some of their players on the bench and we didn’t put up enough points.

“That’s where I felt was a lost opportunity for us.”

The outing was frustrating for Coach Villemure as well.

“It felt like we were playing so bad, but I looked up and we only lost by one point,” he said. “They were locking down on Paige. She had a difficult time trying to find a shot.

“They kept switching girls, chasing her around and really being physical with her.”

Villemure said he expected the night to be close with such a strong opponent.

“We expected it to be that tight,” he said. “We’re at their place, Grosse Ile’s such a good defensive team and they’re so aggressive.

“I did not expect anything but a tight game. They really outrebounded us; that was the difference. We got killed on the glass.”

Villemure said it was good for his team that they got up so early in the first quarter after having to deal with Grosse Ile’s different presses.

“It just felt like we were tied or losing sometimes with their pressure,” he said. “They did a nice job of changing their defenses (and) my girls were really off in terms of understanding what we were trying to run.”

Tobin was pleased with her team’s continued defensive efforts, but said free throws was where her team lost the game.

“I’m frustrated about not making our free throws,” she said. “We missed 14 free throws and that was the difference in the game.

“I’m happy with the effort on defense. I think we played four quarters of good defense when we finally settled in (and) I think they had a tough time with our pressure too.

“I wish we would have done a better job keeping Morgan down in points, but I thought we did a decent job with Paige.”

Morgan led all scorers with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds on the night with two triples and finished seven-for-11 from the free throw line.

Paige Villemure had 11 points and nine rebounds and Paige Nemeth finished with 10 points.

Grosse Ile was led by Megan Swick with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Tobin finished with 13 points and six rebounds, Erin Carney had eight rebounds and Andrea Plemmons had four points.

As a team, the Red Devils were seven-for-21 from the charity stripe, while the Rams were 12-for-19.

With the win, the Rams moved to 13-0 in the league.

“That’s two league titles in a row now,” Villemure said. “That’s a great achievement for the girls and the team.

“We wanna really keep the momentum going. It’d be nice to finish on a solid note.”

The Grosse Ile-Flat Rock rivalry will have one more go around this season.

The Rams will host Airport in the final Huron League game of the season on Thursday and then turn around to open with them in districts.

If they beat the Jets, they’ll take on Grosse Ile once again in the one-and-done playoffs.

Last Updated: 2/11/2014 1:29:38 PM EST