Cougars conquer Mustangs, district

GARDEN CORNERS – When the Superior Central Cougars needed it, Kelsey Coleman was there to step it up a notch. An inspired Munising team made it tough on the Cougars for at least a half, but eventually SC got the separation it wanted and snowballed to a 65-29 victory to win their second consecutive Class D district title.

Coleman finished with 15 points, matching her career-high set her sophomore year and also matched earlier this season. As multiple perimeter shots didn’t fall early for the Cougars, Lindsey Richmond and Teslyn Tyner found Coleman on the post and she also hit a couple jumpers in the paint.

“We did a really good job working the ball in tonight and we hit a lot of outside shots too,” Coleman said. “We had a lot of help on defense which was good for when they were driving. I thought we played really well overall.”

It was just another case of the undefeated Cougars (23-0) always seeming to have someone step up when they needed it.

“Kelsey stepped it up tonight and that was big,” said SC coach Greg Trowbridge. “She made some big buckets and wasn’t afraid to shoot it when she was open. That’s what we needed. We were having trouble getting that second effort so give Munising credit. I thought they played us tough in that first half.”

The Mustangs (12-11) put it all out. They pressed the Cougars on defense, rebounded well and limited SC’s second-chance opportunities. WIth two minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Cougars held a 10-7 lead. However the Mustangs began making mistakes and Superior Central turned that into a 13-0 run that spanned into the next quarter. There are turnovers and then there are timely turnovers and a few Mustangs errors directly in front of their net helped SC’s cause.

“We had a couple turnovers,” said Mustangs coach Matt Mattson. “At one point we had a 3-pointer go in and out, got the rebound and threw it away and they scored. Then we had another layup go in and out, they got it and scored again. Then they hit a three. It kind of snowballed there, but we kept fighting.”

There was never any quit in the Mustangs, who seemed to frustrate the Cougars at times with their defense as Brooke Pasanen got into early foul trouble.

“They took it to us and got us in early foul trouble. We had to regroup, but we slowly got a little bit of a spread in the first half,” said Trowbridge. “We seem to do that though. Teams can stay with us in a stretch, then we get a couple minutes where we get 10 points and we seem to hold it.”

The Cougars began the second half with back to back 3-point plays as Coleman and Pasanen each got the bucket and the free-throw after the foul.

Tyner led the Cougars with 17 points, including three triples, four assists and eight steals, helping her team’s fast break really roll. Vanessa Freberg had seven steals to go with her 15 points.

Munising was led by Megan McLaren, who had three triples of her own. Jenna Hach who hit a career-high Wednesday night, was held scoreless.

Mattson certainly couldn’t fault his team’s effort.

“The girls played hard for four quarters. I’m proud of them. If we had made a couple free throws, a couple layups, it might have been a single-digit lead at halftime. I can’t question our effort one bit,” he said.

“Superior Central is a fantastic team and I wish them all the luck.”

The Cougars will face off against North Central which pulled off a district title game win over Bark River-Harris 70-68. The team’s will play in the regional semifinal Tuesday at Kingsford.