St. Ignace beats Baraga, 76-45
ESCANABA — St. Ignace girls’ basketball teams have been frequent visitors to the state quarterfinals in recent years.
The top-ranked Saints, however, had gone three years without getting past this round.
They took it a step further this time, posting a 76-45 triumph over the feisty Baraga Vikings in a Division 4 contest Tuesday night at Escanaba High School.
The victory sends St. Ignace (26-0) to the semifinals at Calvin College where they’ll meet Kingston (24-2) at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s nice to be able to go on, especially for our two seniors,” said Saints’ coach Dorene Ingalls. “We’re pretty happy about that. Early on, I thought we did a pretty good job executing our high/low, then we kind of got away from that. We definitely have to finetune some things.”
Baraga (21-4) was within 8-6 following a pair of free throws by freshman Reide Osterman three minutes into the contest.
The Saints answered with a 20-3 run, gaining a 28-9 advantage on a running jump shot by left-handed senior center Emily Coveyou 35 seconds into the second stanza.
“It was real important for us to get off to a good start,” Coveyou said. “We just wanted to play the way we normally do. We had to go after loose balls and make more plays than them. They were really quick off the drive and I think it surprised our defense a little. It feels real good to win in the quarterfinals. It’s definitely a relief to get past this round.”
St. Ignace, employing full-court pressure defense, extended its lead to 39-14 by halftime.
“We work on our press a lot,” Coveyou said. “We have a lot of subs on our team. I think we may have worn them down a little.”
The Vikings, with seven on their roster, trimmed their deficit to 49-29 on a layup by Osterman early in the fourth frame before the Saints completely broke it open.
“I think we gave them a good scare,” said Baraga coach Tom Goodreau. “We were very affective pressuring the ball and in the second half we started to get better position on rebounds. At halftime, we told the girls they had to pick up the pace and fly to the ball. We had to play our style of basketball.”
The Vikings had difficulty matching up with the taller Saints, especially Coveyou who finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds.
“We looked at game film and noticed she was completely left-handed,” Goodreau said. “We were supposed to force her to go right and we didn’t do that. Their height affected us. I think we’re looking at a state championship team. They definitely have a shot.”
Sophomore guard Emmalee Hart scored 16 points for the Saints. Emma Felleppa, a 6-2 junior, collected 12 points and 11 boards to go with three blocked shots in a reserve role. Freshman guard Ally Schultz, who played junior high ball at Bark River-Harris, added seven boards and five assists and junior Tessa Shepard had four assists.
“It was nice to see Emmalee Hart playing with confidence,” Ingalls said. “Emma had a nice game, too, and it was nice to have Tessa back (following the tragic death of her brother). Hats off to Baraga. They came out with a lot of energy. They’re young and they’ll get better. We’re young, too.”
Senior Martina Jahfetson hit 13 points for the Vikings, who committed 19 turnovers. The Saints had 24.
“Our tournament run went real good,” said Goodreau. “Moving forward this is going to help our program a lot.”
St. Ignace 26 13 10 27 — 76
Baraga 9 5 13 18 — 45
ST. IGNACE (76): Mortensen 3, E. Hart 16, Coveyou 29, Marshall 8, Frazier 2, Olsen 3, Schultz 3, Felleppa 12. FT: 17-24. F: 16. 3PT: E. Hart 2, Marshall.
BARAGA (45): Jahfetson 13, Kamarainen 3, Koskinen 7, Osterman 7, Lindemann 8, Durant 7. FT: 8-19. F: 20. 3PT: Jahfetson, Lindemann, Durant.