Some version of the Three Rivers girls basketball team took to the home court Tuesday to take on fellow Wolverine Conference power Otsego. It just wasn’t the one we had seen leading up to that point.
The Wildcats, entering the contest as the leader in the West Division, lost touch with the East-leading Bulldogs with about two minutes remaining in the first quarter and went on to fall 54-37.
Plagued by close to 30 turnovers, Three Rivers (13-3) looked out of sync for all 32 minutes.
“We, for one, weren’t very patient,” Wildcats coach Jason Bingaman said. “We weren’t very smart with the basketball when we did get it. They played harder, they played more as a team and because we didn’t do a lot of the little things right, it caused us to struggle tremendously.”
Meanwhile, the Otsego (13-3) trio of Kyle Hukill, Sarah White and Allie Thiel scored at will, with Thiel directing traffic to the tune of nine assists and disrupting the Wildcats for six steals. Hukill posted 17 points — matching Three Rivers’ Teagan Reeves, who really grinded for each and every one of them. Thiel registered 11 points and White finished with 14.
At 7-1 in the East, the Bulldogs are in the driver’s seat to win the division. Three Rivers is 8-0 in the West and seemingly destined for a rematch in the league title game.
But there’s much work to be done before then, including what Bingaman said was a lack of effort in Tuesday’s game.
“We didn’t do a very good job of keeping spacing,” Bingaman said. “That’s what [Otsego’s] pressure was trying to do — get you to play at a frantic pace. We didn’t do a good job of maintaining our composure.”
Linsey Masnari contributed nine points for Three Rivers, which was on the wrong end of a 24-10 run by halftime. Otsego led 37-21 at the break and cooled off for just 17 second-half points. The Wildcats, however, weren’t able to take advantage.
“We’ve got to have multiple people besides Teagan and Linsey to be able to, not hit shots every time down, but hit shots when they’re available. Our first look is always going to be to Teagan or Linsey, but I think there were some times tonight when we didn’t make that extra pass when we needed to. Because we didn’t make the extra pass, then we overlooked for it the next time and maybe passed up a look. We were just out of sorts all night.”
Krishanna Carter added five points for Three Rivers, followed by Cory Sanders (three), Cheyenne Richardson (two) and Helaina Heffner (one).