Opening with win: Purple Hornets sting Gremlins, 60-45, on opening night at home

Jamie Glenn/Daily Mining Gazette L’Anse’s Majia Rice drives the ball down the floor while Houghton’s Casana Ryynanen gives chase during a game Monday at the L’Anse Gym.

L’ANSE — It was a slow first half for the host L’Anse Purple Hornets and their opponents, the Houghton Gremlins, with most scoring chances coming from the free throw line in the season-opening girls basketball game for both teams. In the second half, L’Anse came out with more pressure, which helped them separate from Houghton in order to earn a 60-45 victory at the L’Anse Gym.

Despite having a young team, Purple Hornets coach Scott Lloyd thought the good outweighed the bad.

“I knew that it was going to be close because we’re going to be a work in progress for awhile,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of new, young faces. We played really good at some times and other times, it was really bad. They scored almost (half) of their points at the free throw line. That’s just unacceptable.”

L’Anse senior center Haley Nenkervis made a three-point shot that doubled up the Purple Hornets’ lead in the third quarter. The home crowd showed its appreciation for the play, which helped the hosts gain enough momentum to hold their opponent from there.

“They called a timeout because of the deflections,” Lloyd said. “They got their hands on some passes that were a little bit slow trying to get to their mark. We ran the floor trying to get some easy layups, I think we even made a perimeter jump shot during that span.

“We had crowd support behind us.”

Sophomore Maija Rice totaled 22 points and junior Kailyn Voskyhi ended the night with 11 points, making key second half buckets for L’Anse.

“Our conditioning I thought was good,” said Lloyd. “Maija Rice logged a lot of minutes. She was able to handle it.

“Kailyn Voskyhi logged a lot of minutes. Most of the girls had good moments, but then got kind of quiet. Those two stood out (for) the whole 32 minutes. I was very pleased with them.”

The Gremlins came out with even intensity but eventually wore down as the game went on.

“In the first half, I liked our intensity,” said Gremlins coach Julie Filpus. “We had a slight two-rebound advantage and a two-point lead. L’Anse took over the rebounding in the second half and score reflected that.”

In a game composed of mostly free throws, Houghton junior Daityn Markham was very strong for the Gremlins with 19 points in her varsity debut. Filpus wants her team to straighten their rebounding for a more cohesive game as they prepare for Negaunee on Thursday.

“Our lack of rebounding and losing our senior leader to foul trouble (cost us),” she said. “They were able to get that six-point separation. We went back and forth for a little while, but eventually they hit some big shots to widen the gap.

“One area that we were happy with in the first half was our rebounding. We’ve got to turn that into a full game. Daityn Markham, in her first varsity game, played very solid for us and did a beautiful job from the free throw line. We definitely have things to work on and that’s where we’ll start tomorrow.”

Houghton 12 14 8 11 – 45

L’Anse 9 15 16 20 – 60

HHS: Markham 19, Ryynanen 11, Connors 6, Bugni 4, Svoke 3, Ronis 2; Fouls: 16; Fouled out: Svoke; 3-point field goals: Connors 2

LHS: M. Rice 22, Voskuhl 11, Mattson 8, Nankervis 8, Martinez 4, Keinz 3, J. Rice 2, Swason 1, VanBuren 1; Fouls: 27; Fouled out: Martinez, J. Rice; 3-point field goals: Voskuhl 1