Updated: Jan 24
The Marine City girls basketball team improved to 5-2 last night after defeating Yale 34-24 in the SC4 Holiday Showcase.
The Bulldogs led 8-7 after the first quarter, and for the first six minutes of the second, the two teams took turns exchanging leads. With 2:43 to go, Yale senior Abbi Dykstra scored to tie the game at 13, but Marine City junior Olivia Volkman answered with a 3-pointer to put her team ahead 16-13, which was its largest lead at the time.
The Mariners would then close the half on an 8-0 run to lead 21-13 heading into the locker room.
“We played well in the first quarter, but in the second quarter, Marine City turned up their defense and we never got into our offense the rest of the game,” Yale head coach Bryan Goulding said.
Mariners head coach Jeff Austin said his team relied on that intense defense to secure the win, just as it has all season. In each of their five victories, the Mariners have held opponents to 16.2 points on average, with a low being seven against Clawson.
“Offensively we struggled tonight, but our defensive effort was phenomenal. To give up 24 points on a big court like that is an accomplishment,” he said. “I think we played very physical, and physical play turns into aggressive defense.”
“We for sure work on defense a lot. I think the whole part of this game is if you play good defense, you’ll get the offense,” junior Josalyn Dieltlin said. “I thought we all did a great job with making the flow of the offense work, and of course, defense always leads to offense, so I thought we did really well defensively too.”
Dietlin and Volkman reaped the rewards of the flowing offense, especially in the third quarter to score eight and nine points, respectively. Volkman scored all of her points from beyond the arc, often assisted by Dietlin.
“Olivia is our best shooter I’d say, by far,” Dietlin said. “She’s the type of girl who when you’re at the post and you get doubled, you like to pass it out to her and she drains that.”
That was exactly how they closed the third quarter on another 8-0 run. Dietlin scored the first five points, and once she was doubled at the post, she kicked it out to Volkman for a 3-pointer.
And leading the team in the first half was junior Mia Simmons. She attacked the basket to either pick up a pair of points or make her way to the free-throw line, and she finished the night with eight points.
“When our teammates spread out, it led to a lot of openings to drive to the lane and it made scoring a lot easier,” Simmons said.
“Mia came in off the bench and gave us tremendous energy and effort and worked very very hard,” Austin said.
As one of seven juniors, Simmons said she’s excited about how the team has been growing so far this season.
“I feel like the younger ones, like myself as a first-year varsity player, we can really step up and show our strengths,” Simmons said. “We have our weaknesses, but the seniors have also improved as well and we’ve all grown together.”
For the Bulldogs, senior Gracie Ostrander led with six points, meeting “the challenge” Goulding said he gave her before the game.
“I actually had talked to Gracie and said, ‘You need to step up, you’re a senior. The kids look up to you, this is your time to shine,’” Goulding said. “She met that challenge and had a good game.”
In addition to being what Austin called “a great atmosphere and a great opportunity,” the SC4 Holiday Showcase came at the perfect time as the Mariners will be tasked with two tough league opponents after the break.
“I don’t like going that whole two weeks without a game so we won’t be as rusty when we play our next league game,” Austin said. “Any time we get invited to play here, we say yes. I think it’s a great experience for the girls. A couple of them are hoping to go play at the next level and this gives them a taste of it.”
Marine City will play on the road against Fraser (7-2, 2-0 MAC-Gold) on Jan. 5, and return home a week later to play St. Clair (4-3, 2-0 MAC-Gold) on Jan. 11.
Goulding agreed, saying these tough non-conference games will help the Bulldogs as they resume BWAC play in the new year.
Yale (4-2, 1-1 BWAC) will play in another showcase tomorrow against Howell (4-2), and then take on Imlay City (7-2, 2-0 BWAC) Jan. 4.
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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