PIGEON — Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port’s three-game stretch playing the best teams in the Greater Thumb Conference ended with a satisfying feeling for coach Todd Comment.
Comment’s Lakers, who endured losses to GTC powers Sandusky and Reese before the holiday break, came back here Tuesday night to face previously-undefeated Brown City in a tuneup before the heart of the GTW schedule kicks in. Balanced scoring, stingy defense and a little luck on the game’s final flurry helped the Lakers hang on for an exciting 39-38 victory over the Green Devils.
“We scratched and clawed, that’s for sure,” Comment said. “I wanted to come in here tonight and just compete, to tell you the truth. To pull out a win, it’s a good one for us.”
The Lakers led by as many as seven points in the second half before they had to hang on in the final moments. Clinging to a four-point edge with under a minute to play, the Lakers withstood a Brown City three-pointer, as well as a mad scramble underneath the Green Devils’ basket as time expired.
“That was crazy at the end,” Comment said. “But we were able to hang in there.”
The Green Devils didn’t do themselves any favors on offense, especially at the foul line and beyond the arc. One of the area’s top three-point shooting squads, the Green Devils missed a bunch of second-half triples. They also were a dismal 3-of-12 from the stripe, including 1-of-6 in the fourth quarter.
EPBP’s offense, meanwhile, did just enough. The Lakers had five players with at least six points, paced by Kacey Peterson’s nine points, eight of them coming in the second half. Taylor Comment added seven points while Erika Matteson, Kayla Deering and Kacy Shetler chipped in six apiece.
“Offensively, we’re not the most skillful,” Comment admitted. “It seems like we are going to have to share the scoring load this year. If we can get six or seven girls scoring six or seven points... That will work.”
For Brown City, Sam Gierman had 12 points while Alena Sanson netted seven. EPBP held the Green Devils to nearly 10 points under their season’s average of 47.9 points per game.
“I was really happy with our defense,” Comment said. “We are going to have to do it on defense this season. And that was the key tonight.”
The Lakers turned a four-point halftime deficit into a seven-point advantage with 1:45 left in the third quarter, settling for a 30-26 edge heading to the final eight minutes.
The teams traded leads for most of the fourth quarter before a running jumper off the backboard and two free throws from Peterson gave the Lakers a 39-35 advantage with 39.8 seconds left.
A few moments later, Sanson buried a three-pointer to cut the Brown City margin to one. After a Laker turnover, the Green Devils had four or five chances to steal the victory in the final 8-10 seconds, starting with a wide open three-point shot. With both teams battling in the paint, the Green Devils then missed several putback attempts as the horn sounded.
EPBP, now 4-2 overall, hosts Bad Axe in a GTW showdown Thursday.
“(Brown City) is 7-1 right now and I still think they are going to be 17-3 or 18-2,” Comment said. “This was a very good test for us. We beat a good, quality team.”
The Green Devils led 11-10 after one quarter, though were held scoreless for the first 5:45 of the second quarter. But the Lakers couldn’t take advantage as Brown City score nine late points to grab a 20-16 halftime cushion.
Marlette 64, USA 35
EPBP 39, Brown City 38
Cass City 60, Ubly 25
BCAS 41, Mayville 30
Memphis 50, Kingston 40
Owen-Gage 61, North Huron 57 OT
Deckerville 47, CPS 20
Caseville 55, Akron-Fairgrove 19
|EPBP’s Kacey Peterson drives into the lane against Brown City’s Ashleigh Blovsky (24).|
|EPBP’s Taylor Comment (20) and Brown City’s Sam Gierman (30) battle for a loose ball with Kacey Peterson (20) and Jennifer McClelland (34).|
|Brown City’s Emily Pytleski goes in for a layup vs. EPBP’s Krissia Krohn.|
|EPBP’s Kayla Deering goes up for two of her six points in the second half for the Lakers on Tuesday night.|