Manawa girls’ basketball return to winning ways
Points add up for Bessette
By Mike Frazier
After having a six-game winning streak snapped, the Manawa girls’ basketball team returned to its winning ways with a Central Wisconsin Conference North Division victory.
The Wolves defeated Gresham 85-40 Dec. 21 one day after falling to Green Bay West 49-46.
Manawa 85, Gresham 40
The Wolves showed early signs of being tired in their third game in four days, as their shots were short and the turnovers began to mount. However, Manawa picked up its intensity on defense and that forced Gresham into 17 first-half turnovers.
Valarie Cerveny’s three-point play gave the Wildcats their only lead at 3-2. The Wolves continued to struggle until switching to a half-court trap that led to 6-0, 9-2 and 8-2 runs and a 41-16 halftime lead.
Manawa opened the second half with 20-2 run with Laynie Bessette scoring eight of her game high 18 points.
Those 18 points moved her into second place on the school’s all-time scoring list in front of Sonja Sorenson. She also added eight rebounds and six steals.
Kaitlyn Miller added 16 points, while Kellyn Kaczorowski, Josie Nichols and Jaden Jaeger chipped in with 13, 12 and 11, respectively.
Green Bay West 49, Manawa 46
The Wolves forced more turnovers and outrebounded the Wildcats, but couldn’t overcome a cold night of shooting.
Manawa connected on only 16 of its 78 shots and missed all 16 of its three-point attempts.
The Wolves scored the game’s first seven points, but West tied the game at 12-12 on three-pointers from Antonia King and Taeja Morrow.
The momentum seemed to switch back to the Wolves after West coach Tom Mackey received a technical foul. Miller hit a pair of free throws as part of a 6-0 run that gave the Wolves an 18-12 lead.
The Wildcats finished the first half with five unanswered points and the teams headed to the locker room tied at 22-22.
West scored the first four points of the second half and never trailed again, although the Wolves tied the game at 26-26 and 28-28.
A 9-0 run from the Wildcats forced Manawa coach Patrick Collins to call a time out with 11:34 left to play.
The Wolves slowly crawled back into the game after two West players fouled out and Mackey’s second technical foul.
Bessette’s steal and layup with 52 seconds remaining cut the Wildcats’ lead to 46-44. The Wildcats nearly turned the ball over on their next possession and the Wolves were forced to foul. Kelis Cornelius made one of two free throws and the home team had a 47-44 lead.
Miller’s two free throws with just under 12 seconds remaining cut the lead to 47-46, but King made a pair of free throws to push the lead back to three points.
The Wolves had one final chance to send the game to overtime, but Bessette’s three-pointer from near-half court hit the backboard and bounced away.
Bessette and Miller led the Wolves with 19 and 15 points, respectively, while Kaczorowski snared 16 of the Wolves’ 50 rebounds.