Open with a bang

Austin leads Ishpeming girls to win over Broncos

Ishpeming’s Chloe Sjoholm blocks Bark River-Harris’s Hailee Demers during a game Tuesday evening November 28, 2017 at Ishpeming High School. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

ISHPEMING — Mariah Austin scored 27 points by shooting 9 of 18 from the field to start Ishpeming’s girls basketball season with a bang in a 78-40 victory over Bark River-Harris on Tuesday night.

It was the opener for both teams and Hematites head coach Ryan Reichel said he couldn’t be happier with his team’s performance on offense and defense.

“I was a little nervous at the beginning of the game,” he said. “Seeing this team (Bark River-Harris) warm up, I know they have a really good style of basketball.

“We were just fortunate to be a really good rebounding team tonight, which is something we’ve been working on and we got some fast breaks and that facilitated a lot for us.”

Reichel added that the large margin of victory was due to his entire team’s effort.

“Mariah (Bertucci) had the first six rebounds of the game, which got us going on the defensive end, Mariah Austin had a great first half and all of a sudden Madigan Johns came along and collectively I think everyone contributed in a positive way.”

Bark River-Harris head coach Josh Eagle said his team was challenged.

“We played hard,” he said. “There’s not a team we’re intimidated by or we’re going to take a night off for. I’m proud of my girls for that, but with that being said, Ishpeming is another beast in itself.

“They have excellent fundamentals, they move the ball well and shoot the ball well.”

Eagle added that his team has several things to work on.

“I’m always going to say we need to work on everything,” he said. “For us, it’s going to be working on fundamental defense. We like to pressure but we knew with their speed it was going to be difficult.

“That took us out of our game a little bit but that’s going to be our objective this season … to pressure full court and run people off the court.”

The Broncos jumped out to a 5-0 lead early on after a layup from junior guard Hailee Demers and 3-pointer from senior forward Megan Robinette. The Hematites came back quickly, however, and tied the game 5-5 on a 3-point shot from Austin, her first of three Tuesday.

The teams traded leads for several minutes until Hematite senior guard Mariah Bertucci put in a layup to give Ishpeming the lead for good at 10-8.

Ishpeming ran off from there, going on a 12-point run that made it 20-8 before Robinette scored. Ishpeming pulled off another 3-pointer before the end of the quarter, this time from senior guard Chloe Sjoholm to make it 23-10 after one period.

Ishpeming held off the Broncos in the second, taking a 37-22 lead at the break.

The Hematites didn’t let off the gas in the second half, scoring the first seven points of the third quarter and pulling away even more.

Johns added 15 points and four assists while Sjoholm put up 12 points, five assists and three rebounds. Robinette led the way for the Broncos with 12 points while sophomore guard Grace Peterson had eight.

Bark-River Harris hosts Forest Park on Friday, while Ishpeming travels to Kingsford on Monday.

The Hematites also won the JV game, 44-31.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net.