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GIRLS' BASKETBALL: Better late than never; Bucs fund their groove

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Two and a half weeks ago the Riverview girls’ basketball team had only one league win on the season with the one-and-done playoffs quickly approaching.

But the Bucs are riding a hot streak at the most important time of the season and now have five league wins after a week of three games, and three wins.

Michala Burke carried the team through the busy week, finishing the three-game stretch with 52 points, leading the team in scoring in each of the games.

The week started with a win- a big win- over Huron.

Despite another second half collapse this season, Riverview sustained a large enough lead to defeat Huron 61-47 on the road.

“That’s our problem all year,” said Huron Coach Marty Mucha. “Today we stayed even keel, and they held on. They got the lead they wanted. Every game we’ve played this year has been the same way.”

The Bucs jumped out to an early lead, after a slow start, and despite going into the second quarter 8-3, they kept the pressure on. Riverview began to run away with the game in the second quarter, outscoring the Chiefs 22-5.

With a halftime lead of 30-8, Mucha was hoping there wasn’t going to be a collapse like the previous games, but it happened. At one point during the third quarter, the Bucs had a 30-point lead, but as the game wore on, the Chiefs started making some shots.

By the late stages of the fourth quarter, the 30-point lead was down to just 13 with less than two minutes to go. All the Chiefs needed were to foul the Bucs, and hope for some missed shots, while making some shots of their own. They couldn’t make the shots necessary though, and the comeback fell short.

Mucha was proud of the way his team performed, despite the collapse late. “Today, they were at least knocking them (shots) down, they at least had open shots, they were knocking them down, which I’m happy with.”

The Bucs had two players in double digit scoring. Leading the way was Burke with 24 points and eight rebounds, followed by Hannah Love with 14 points and four rebounds. Andrea Machnacki scored eight points and Angela Zammit scored seven along with nine boards.

As for the Chiefs, Hailey Richardson scored 22 points with four boards, and Sabrina Cady scored 11 points and two rebounds.

The following night, Riverview bounced back from a tough first quarter to top Jefferson 420-27.

The Bears led 8-4 after the first quarter and Mucha said the team just came out flat.

It was tied 11-all at the half and the Bucs held a close 22-19 lead after three, before opening up the scoring in the fourth.

The Bucs won the final outing 20-8 and went 12-for-13 from the free throw line down the stretch for the win.

Burke led with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Kirsten Chambers had seven points, 10 assists and eight steals, Love finished with five points and eight rebounds and Zammit had five points.

The week was capped on Thursday with a close 44-41 win over St. Mary Catholic Central.

The Kestrels led through the first half; 8-4 after one and 19-17 at the half before Riverview turned things around.

The Bucs held their opponents to just two points in the third quarter while putting up 12 themselves and lost the final outing 20-15, but held on for the win.

“We played hard the whole game and I was happy with our free throw shooting for the game,” Mucha said. “I was happy with how our bench stepped in and played well when called on. Miranda Farley played well defensively and held their best scorers to eight points.”

The Bucs were 20-for-25 from the charity stripe in the win.

Burke led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds. Zammit had 12 points and four rebounds and Anastasia Smith finished with seven points and four rebounds.

Huron’s recent rough spell continued Thursday night with a loss to Grosse Ile.

Fouls made all the difference in the world in a closely contested Huron League rivalry game in New Boston on Thursday night.

The Grosse Ile girls’ basketball team (15-3) got to the free-throw line a whopping 28 times and that helped guide them to victory over the Huron Chiefs (10-7) by a final score of 51-40.

“In the fourth quarter I wanted ball control and to work the clock down,” said Grosse Ile Coach Sandy Tobin. “I wanted the ball to stay in our hands for a long time each time we got possession.”

That strategy seemed to frustrate Huron, who had four girls foul out of the game according to their head coach, Jim Kalbfleisch.

Everyone came out sluggish to start the game on both sides, excluding Chiefs forward Hailey Richardson. Richardson shined in the opening minutes of the game, scoring her team’s first nine points and leading them to an 11-8 lead after one quarter of play.

“Hailey’s solid, she’s really makes us go,” Kalbfleisch said. “She played another good game tonight but we just ended up not getting much help for her offensively.”

The Red Devils pulled ahead of Huron in the second quarter thanks to contributions up and down the lineup and consistent rebounding. They managed 17 boards to Huron’s 11 in the first half and that was a big reason why they took a 25-24 lead into halftime.

“Rebounding is always how you win games, really,” Coach Tobin said. “If you control the boards you’re going to be in it and our job on the glass tonight makes me really happy.”

After a neck and neck first half, Grosse Ile was able to pull away a bit once they found their shooting stroke. The Red Devils nailed three 3-pointers in the third. Megan Moco hit two of them and scored nine second-half points altogether.

“Megan Moco really kind of lifted us with two big buckets in a row there,” Coach Tobin said. “She really helped move our offense a lot quicker in the second half as well.”

Grosse Ile came out of the third quarter with a 40-33 lead and then proceeded to make a killing at the free-throw line in the fourth.

All 11 of their fourth-quarter points came at the charity stripe. Kalbfleisch said he thought a lot of the calls that ended up in Grosse Ile’s favor in the second half could have easily gone the other way.

“Every time (the referees) blew the whistles it was against us,” he said. “I don’t know what the deal was with that but it was bad. (Grosse Ile) was trapping us and they were playing pressure defense and we were playing zone, all the way back, and yet every foul was against us. What can I say.”

Huron hit a couple of threes late, one by Carley Ames and one by My-Nhi Nguyen, but unfortunately for the Chiefs, those were their only two field goals of the fourth quarter, so they didn’t factor much into the outcome.

Megan Swick led the Red Devils with 17 points while Moco and Kate Tobin scored nine apiece. Erin Carney grabbed seven rebounds and Megan Swick hauled in six more for Grosse Ile.

Richardson double-doubled for Huron in the loss with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Savannah Floyd scored eight points and pulled down four boards.

Huron will visit Allen Park on Tuesday and then Airport on Wednesday. The Red Devils will remain on the road next week and close out their so-far stellar season in games against Trenton on Tuesday and Cabrini on Thursday.

“I always love the matchup between Trenton and Grosse Ile,” Coach Tobin said. “It’s a great rivalry. I always look forward to going into Trenton and I’m expecting it to be a good game.”

Days after securing the second consecutive Huron League title, the Flat Rock team toped Airport 40-33 in its final league outing of the season.

The Rams led 11-5 after the first quarter, 25-13 at the half and 31-20 after three. Airport won the final quarter 13-9 but the earlier work of the Rams gave the team the win.

Paige Villemure led the way with 13 points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals and eight blocks.

Holli Rhodes and Olivia Lawson had six points each and Hannah Myre and Paige Nemeth had four.

The Rams wrapped up their season by traveling to Woodhaven last night to take on the Warriors in a battle of Huron League and Downriver League heavyweights.

Jake Newby contributed

Last Updated: 2/18/2014 2:17:14 PM EST