(Prep Basketball) Black Bears win two over Soaring Eagles

By John Vrancic


GARDEN CORNERS – It was the tale of two halves in a non-conference girls’ basketball game Monday night as the Big Bay de Noc Black Bears rallied past the Hannahville Soaring Eagles 58-50.

Big Bay’s boys also beat Hannahville 74-30.

The Big Bay girls used a potent 1-2 scoring punch to overcome a 33-21 halftime deficit.

Senior guard Chelsea Thompson scored nine points and senior center Sami Sundling added eight in the third quarter, helping the Black Bears (2-8) gain a 44-40 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

“We were more patient and our defense stepped up in the second half,” said Big Bay coach Ryan Knoph. “Also, tonight’s second half is probably one of the best halves we’ve had in terms of ballhandling. We tried a (full-court) press for the first time tonight and it worked rather well. Hannahville has some good shooters. This is a big confidence boost for us.”

Thompson finished with a career-high 24 points and eight steals in a reserve role. Sundling had a career-high 22 points for Big Bay, which committed five of its 21 turnovers in the second half. Senior guard Cassidy Cayemberg collected five assists.

“Chelsea was struggling early in the year,” said Knoph. “We’ve been taking her off the bench and she’s more comfortable in that role. Sam (Sundling) has been steady for us and Cassidy passed the ball well.”

Hannahville (5-2) gained a 33-19 advantage with 35.5 seconds left in the second quarter on a pair of free throws by Alicia O’Brien.

Cayemberg then sank a buzzer-beating putback, which appeared to give the Black Bears (2-8) momentum going into the halftime locker room.

Hannahville still led 38-27 following a putback and free throw by senior forward Mary Saldana with 5:17 left in the third stanza.

Thompson then converted a layup and free throw 15 seconds later, igniting a string of 17 unanswered points which gave Big Bay a 44-38 lead.

“We shot the ball extremely well and boxed out (on rebounds) in the first half,” said Hannahville coach Josh Eagle. “I think our girls got a chance to see that some of the things we’re doing in practice are working. They (Big Bay) definitely won the rebound battle in the second half. They also stepped up the pressure, which changed the pace of the game.”

Big Bay played without junior guard Patience Harris, who’s nursing an ankle injury.

The Black Bears, who host Gladstone Thursday, hit 22-of-68 field goals.

Saldana paced Hannahville with 17 points. Senior guards Selena Williams and Sophie Manitowabi added 15 and 13, respectively. The Soaring Eagles were 18-of-47 from the field and had 29 turnovers.

In the nightcap, the Big Bay boys quickly took charge, racing to a 23-4 advantage after the opening frame.

“We told the kids to do the right things fundamentally,” said Big Bay coach Angie LaLonde. “We shared the ball well and played a pretty clean game. Only, we need to focus more on boxing out.

“I watched Hannahville in warm-ups and could tell they were pretty quick. They’re young. They’ll have a nice ball club the next couple years.”

Senior guard Alex Ranguette paced the Black Bears (6-3) with 20 points, including 11 in the first in the first quarter. Senior forward Zach Pomeroy hit 15 and senior guard Cole Potvin scored 14.

“Alex has a nice outside shot,” said LaLonde. “Cole is always a good leader on the floor and Zach had another nice game. It was also nice to see Loren (Swayer) knock down some nice shots.”

Sophomore guard Cody Meshigaud scored 12 points for the Soaring Eagles (4-2), who hit just 10-of-61 field goals and committed 20 turnovers.

“Big Bay has a good team,” said Hannahville coach Seth Miller. “They handle the ball well. We came out tight and they outplayed us in every facet of the game. It’s a good learning experience to play a team that makes you pay for every mistake you make.”

Big Bay, which visits Engadine tonight, was 30-of-56 from the floor and had 15 miscues.

Both Hannahville teams host Grand Marais Wednesday.