HARRIS - With the youth they both have, the Bark River-Harris and Munising girls basketball teams are going to have great battles for years to come.
This time, it was the Mustangs freshmen trio of Marissa Immel, Frankie Mattson and Bailey Downs getting the better of the Broncos, 49-46, in Harris.
"We're awfully young, you know, three freshman in the starting lineup and they have sophomores, so we're probably the two youngest teams in the U.P.," Mustangs head coach Matt Mattson said. "This was a battle all the way down the stretch. It was a huge step for us, Bark River is a great program and for us to even be in the game, I'm very proud of our kids."
Munising’s Bailey Downs (40) looks for her shot as Caitlyn Frazer of Bark River-Harris defends during the second half of Monday’s game in Harris. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Jon Young)
Munising trailed throughout until the final minute, when Immel hit the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation to give the Mustangs a 47-46 edge.
BR-H's Jordyn Hardy had the ball knocked away on the next possession and the Mustangs grabbed it. After a timeout, Munising got the ball into the hands of Immel, who was fouled and calmly sunk a pair from the line to give her team its final margin.
"I don't know what she was percentage-wise, but she hit some big ones down the stretch," Mattson said. "She does a great job, she handles the ball for us 95 percent of the time and against a team like Bark River who is going to trap you, that's really important."
Munising 49, Bark River-Harris 46
Bark River-Harris - Jenshak 2, Starnes 2, Boucher 2, Schultz 8, Lindquist 4, Hardy 11, Frazer 8, Lund 4; FT: 7-17; F: 20; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Hardy 1.
Munising - Immel 16, Watson 7, Mattson 12, Cornish 3, Decet 4, Downs 7; FT: 16-23; F: 13; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Watson 2, Immel 1.
Score by quarters:
Bark River-Harris 15 8 11 12 - 46
Munising 9 9 16 13 - 49
The Broncos called timeout to set up a 3-point attempt with 13 seconds left. As point guard Hannah Starnes tried to get her team into its offense she made contact with Immel and lost the ball to her that ended the game.
BR-H head coach Joel Schultz noted his frustration with the lack of whistles down the stretch but said his team has to close out better.
"They have good speed and they finished shots better down the stretch," he said. "It's as simple as that, they made some shots and we didn't. It's a nice young team, they're going to be a good team."
The teams were tied 34-34 after three quarters before the Broncos rattled off a 6-0 run, though Munising didn't let its deficit get bigger than that.
Eventually, Frankie Mattson, the coach's daughter, tied the game twice with shots to set up the final moments.
"She's going on one wheel right now," the elder Mattson said. "She had a sprained ankle so we taped it up. She hasn't practiced in the last couple of days because of it.
"I was more impressed with her rebounding, I think she had 15 or 16 rebounds and she made some shots down the stretch and for a freshman she's doing a great job."
The Broncos were paced by sophomore Jordyn Hardy's 16 points, though they made just 7 of 17 at the free-throw line.
With the loss, BR-H drops to 11-7 overall and 5-2 in the CUP. Munising improves to 12-4 overall and 7-1 in the CUP.