There are some times when Three Rivers girls basketball coach Jason Bingaman has to scratch his head when watching freshman Hadley Miller play.
‘’She had a rough stretch recently and she’s a freshman at times,’’ he said. ‘’And then it’s a good freshman at times.’’
It was one of those good times on Friday night at home against Sturgis as she poured in 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds , made six steals and had three assists in the Wildcats’ 54-40 victory over rival Sturgis in Wolverine Conference play.
‘’She can change a game,’’ the coach said. ‘’There aren’t many better at grabbing a defensive rebound, go down the court and finish.’’
Miller was held to no points in the first quarter and six in the second. She then exploded for 12 in the second half.
She wasn’t the only one, though. Senior Rhyeli Krause added 13 points and two steals, junior Arionne Fowlkes, nine points, three assists and two steals and senior Cara Smith, five points and two steals.
Sturgis had 15 points from senior Harmony Groves, 12 from freshman Sage Groves and four from junior De’Ashia Sanders, who also had six rebounds.
The game was tied at 5 after the first quarter, but Three Rivers (6-10 overall, 3-3 Wolverine South) outscored the Trojans (4-14, 3-4), 10-2 to take a 15-7 lead. Then Sturgis came back to trail by two, 18-16 at the half.
‘’The first part of the second quarter we hit some shots, then we went through a phase where we missed layups, free throws and jumpers,’’ the coach said. ‘’We got a little tired at the end of the second.’’
Showing renewed energy in the third quarter, Three Rivers finished up the final three minutes with an 11-5 spurt to take a 36-24 lead. The Wildcats put the game away by outscoring Sturgis, 12-0, to start the fourth quarter.
‘’We were able to get into a full-court game, pressure them a bit and caused them to be on their heels for the most part,’’ Bingaman said. ‘’It’s all based on what we do defensively which is attack the basketball and we’ve had games where we’ve been able to do that.’’
This was one of those games as they stepped in front of Sturgis players to intercept passes time and time again, especially in the third quarter when they forced the Trojans into nine turnovers.
‘’Sometimes on the court we have players who are 5-2, 5-4, 5-6 and a 6-0 post player, so we have to attack the ball on defense,’’ the coach said.
Three Rivers has only won six games, but Bingaman likes the way his team is starting to come around as the regular season nears an end. The Wildcats also know there is still something big to play for.
‘’We know that if we can play well and win the district, the regional is at our place,’’ the coach said.
Now that’s a good carrot on the end of the season-ending stick.