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Patriots girl out pace Bulldogs 37-34

Hancock’s Emily L’Esperance puts up a free throw as Westwood’s Megan Marta (5) blocks out another Bulldog during a game Tuesday at the Hancock Gym. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — Tuesday night’s girls basketball game between the Westwood Patriots and the Hancock Bulldogs came down to the final eight minutes. The game was tied at 21 to start the fourth quarter, and was 37-34 after the final buzzer. The Patriots had outscored the Bulldogs 16-13 for the victory.

“All and all, I was pleased with our performance tonight,” said Westwood coach Annie Skewis. “We rely a lot on Lexi Olson, and while she was under the weather tonight, she was able to come in and score some points for us in that final quarter.”

She was also the Patriots only scorer in double figures with 13 points.

Hancock’s bread and butter shot was the 3-pointer. They headed into the locker room at halftime down by two at 19-17. Fifteen of their 17 points had come from triples.

The Bulldogs sunk seven (21 of their 34 points) by the end of the game. Four of them were put in by junior Kay Pietila. She led the scoring for Hancock with 16 points.

What the Bulldogs did not do well was sink their free throws. They were a dismal 4-of-12 from the charity strip, and, according to their coach Ward Helakoski, that made all the difference in the game.

“In a close game like this, you have to make your free throws especially at the end,” he said, “and we didn’t.”

The game was very much a defensive battle. and that was by design for Westwood.

“I liked how our girls played hard and applied pressure to their guards making it hard for them (Hancock) to get any easy shots,” Skewis added.

It forced the Bulldogs to be patient – maybe even too patient? “No,” according to Helakoski.

“I liked out pace,” he said. “With two of our guards out (due to injury), we have to be more methodical in our offensive approach, and we were that tonight. We moved the ball well. That was a plus for us.”

UP NEXT

The Bulldogs will welcome the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes Thursday to Hancock. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. On Friday, the Patriots will welcome the Sault Ste. Marie Blue Devils to their gym. Tip off set for 7:15 p.m.

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