Westwood knocks off Kingsford
Injury sidelines Flivvers’ Kriegl
ISHPEMING — Every sports team will have some jitters going into its first game of the season, no matter how much experience that team brings to the table.
It didn’t take long for the Westwood girls basketball team to find its groove on Friday night, though. Despite a slow start in the first quarter, the Patriots, whom several people deem to be the Upper Peninsula’s preseason favorite, opened their season with a bang, topping Kingsford 63-27 at home behind a 23-point performance from senior guard Madi Koski.
Koski only missed the bucket twice, going 9 of 11 from the field including 5 of 6 from three-point range.
Three of those triples came in the first quarter. Add a layup to that resumé, and the All-U.P. Dream Teamer from last season had 11 of Westwood’s 13 first quarter points to give the Patriots a 13-8 lead after eight minutes.
In the lead after one quarter? That’s a solid start to the season, but compared to the final three quarters, it was still a slow one. The Patriots went on to score 22 points in the second, while limiting the Flivvers to just five. That allowed Westwood to go into cruise control for the remainder of the evening.
“I don’t think we got out of the gates real fast,” Westwood head coach Kurt Corcoran said. “We had four turnovers in the first four minutes probably, we weren’t running our offensive sets correctly, and those are things that happen in the first game. I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years now, and I still say that the team who wins that first game is more or less lucky, because you’re ironing out wrinkles and you just can’t duplicate the intensity of a real game in practice.”
Kingsford dropped to 1-1 in its second game of the season as it struggled to generate offense without its injured star point guard in senior Brooke Kriegl.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game when we’re missing our point guard, who’s coming in as our floor leader and co-pilot,” Flivvers head coach Lisa Harry said. “With (Brooke) being out, we knew we had our hands full. Regardless, this is a great Westwood team, so you’ve got to put together one of your better games to compete with them.”
Harry credited her Flivvers team for a strong start and playing hard until the final buzzer sounded.
“We fought. The girls fought hard, they played hard until the end, they hustled, they had good attitudes and good energy that’s all I can ask,” Harry said.
The score was 35-13 at halftime and 51-19 after three.Kingsford was led by seniors Kate Cook and Ali Doolittle with nine points apiece. The Flivvers were 5 of 11 from the charity stripe.