Jets roll to district title game

POWERS – They had to get their feet wet sometime.

The Hannahville girls got their first taste of postseason play Wednesday night, but it was North Central which rolled to a 61-18 basketball victory in a Class D district semifinal game.

North Central (14-8), which scored the last 28 points in this one, visits fifth-ranked and three-time defending champion Bark River-Harris (18-4) Friday at 7 p.m. for the title contest.

“It was just a matter of getting into some kind of rhythm,” said North Central coach Nikki Laurila. “We were able to push the ball up the floor on rebounds and get some layups. We finally got into a flow on offense. In the last quarter, we moved and shot the ball well.”

The Soaring Eagles were within 33-18 with 85 seconds left in the third quarter when junior point guard Sophie Manitowabi drained a four-foot jump shot from the baseline.

Senior Dana Rochon, however, started the Jets’ final run with a 20-foot jumper from the left wing 25 seconds later.

“Hannahville played tough,” said Laurila. “They rebounded and were aggressive on the boards. They also transitioned quite well. They had a couple good ballhandlers and got the ball up the floor.”

The Jets then sank four triples while outscoring Hannahville 25-0 in the fourth frame.

“I think that’s when their experience paid off,” said Hannahville assistant coach Josh Eagle. “That team is talented. We can tell they worked hard during the off-season.”

North Central senior guard Darcy Rochon drained a trio of trifectas. She, Dana Rochon and Morgan Wells scored 11 points each. Senior forward Katlyn Sagataw led the Soaring Eagles with seven points.

“The Wells girls are impressive,” said Eagle. “They were a load to handle, although I thought Alicia O’Brien did a pretty good job on them. Defensively, we’ve been solid all year. We just need to put in more gym time. The girls were nervous coming in here. But I think the butterflies were gone by the end of the first quarter and they came together. We let the girls decide whether they wanted to enter the district and they were dead serious about wanting to play. We’re so proud of Katlyn and the effort by the whole team.”

North Central hit 24-of-52 field goals and committed 10 turnovers. Hannahville was 6-of-39 from the floor and had 30 miscues.

“Ten turnovers is good for us,” said Laurila. “I think most of those took place when we tried to force things. There were also times we fouled when we shouldn’t have. We could see their kids were nervous, but I thought they played real well. It was nice to see them in the tournament.”