By Chris Zadorozny
It was a David versus Goliath matchup at Baptist Park in Taylor on Friday night. The young Wildcats of Baptist Park put up a fight, but in the end, the better team won, as Plymouth Christian cruised to a 48-34 win over the Wildcats.
It didn’t start that great for the Wildcats, who couldn’t get a bucket until the three- minute mark of the first quarter, and by that time, they were already down by eight points. The Eagles doubled up the points on the Wildcats by the end of the first quarter, up 13-6.
It was far from over, but the Wildcats needed some help, and the inexperience of the Baptist Park squad would eventually do them in. Plymouth Christian took over in the second quarter and went up 26-13 at the half.
“The intensity level that they bring, is something, on a four-quarter basis; we haven’t seen anything like it. Not being used to it, the nerves, for most of the girls it’s their first district (final), you got nerves on top of it and everything,” said Baptist Park Coach Steve McElroy.
That doesn’t take away from the Eagles play though according to McElroy, and they scored double digits in every quarter except the final frame.
“We made some big shots, we shot really well tonight, and we took care of the basketball as well. The seniors really came through,” said Plymouth Christian Coach Rod Windle.
By mid-third quarter, the game was all but over as the Eagles experience and intensity overpowered the Wildcats inexperience and missed shots.
“I think we felt like nothing’s ever going to go in. That takes nothing away from them. They played great, made shots, made foul shots. They never gave us a chance to breath, which is what they are supposed to do,” said McElroy.
Two players in double digits led Plymouth Christian. Senior forward Rachel Smith scored a game-high 18 points, along with three boards and a steal. Fellow senior, center Jennifer Malcolm had 10 points and six boards. Freshman Aliyah Pries also contributed a point, and eight boards.
As for the Wildcats, only one player was in double digits.
Junior guard Mikaylah LaPlante had 14 points, four boards and a steal. Junior Mandy Storms led the team with nine boards, and junior Rachel Weathers had five points and seven boards.
Baptist Park will now head into the offseason with no one on the team graduating. Eighth-grader Mikayla Thompson holds a lot of upside, as she averaged nearly 10 points per game, while the six juniors will become seniors, and another eighth-grader soon to be freshman will be on the team next year, according to McElroy.
“This is where we want to be next year, but we want to be on the other side of things. It’s about putting the work in this summer. They were stronger than we were, so talk about getting stronger, work on some basic fundamental things that will make us a better team.”
The Eagles are now trying to get back to where they were last year. In 2013, they won regionals and lost in the first quarterfinal. They lost seven seniors coming into 2014, but the four seniors they have now will be leading them farther in the playoffs.
“We have a lot to work on, and it’s nice because we’re a big team together continue working on a lot of our turnovers today that were unnecessary, travels and what not and not executing,” said Windle.
Plymouth Christian will play Ann Arbor Rudolf Steiner on Tuesday at 7:30pm from Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes.
To read the original article that appeared online on MI Prep Zone on March 6, 2014, go to www.miprepzone.com/thenewsherald