Morenci girls basketball team wins quarterfinals 03.23.2011

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It was anything but a calm, restful atmosphere in Morenci’s locker room March 15 in Jackson.

The Bulldogs were playing their first quarterfinal game in nearly 40 years and trailing Athens by six points—eight points until Tia Tompkins hit a bucket at the buzzer.

“It was pretty loud at the half-time break,” said Bulldog coach Tim Yatzek. “We were playing poorly but trailing by only six points.”

Yatzek remembers asking his squad if this is where they wanted it to end, in the Jackson High School field house instead of at MSU’s Breslin Center.

“They responded well,” Yatzek said about the third quarter play. “We started to do the things we needed to do, the things we worked on specifically for Athens.”

Take rebounds, for example. There were times when the Indians notched three and four rebounds on a single possession.

“That’s one of the things we worked on,” Yatzek said, “but we were standing around and trying to out-jump them instead of boxing out.”

It was a more confident Morenci team that took the floor for the second half. Tompkins got an early steal and Matea Garcia scored. Later, Tompkins turned and shot followed by another Athens turnover.

The Bulldogs were slow in their recovery on the scoreboard, but they finally took the lead at 4:15 on a three-pointer from Mercedez McCaskey, and they never gave it up.

A nine-point lead slipped to three, 38-35, at 5:13 in the fourth with Tompkins on the bench after her fourth foul. Athens eventually pulled to within one, 39-38.

McCaskey hit another three-pointer to give the Bulldogs a little breathing space, but it didn’t last long.

With a two-point lead and 2:28 yet to play, the Bulldogs missed two free throws but the Indians still couldn’t come back. Tompkins hit a pair from the line with 1:25 remaining to lead 44-40.

Athens hit a bucket with 39 seconds left and it was up to Brooke Bovee to seal it off with two chances at the line and 10 seconds to play.

She missed her first shot, then missed the second and it was suddenly up to Tompkins to assure a trip to the semifinals. She grabbed the rebound and put it through the hoop for a 46-42 victory.

Bovee, a sophomore, carried the team with her ball handling against the tough Athens defense.

“She played her heart out,” Coach Yatzek said. “She really wanted it.”

Bovee also hit 10 of 14 from the line to finish with 14 points, just behind Tompkins’s 16.

  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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