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Munising Mustangs corralled: Girls basketball team can’t keep up with Carney-Nadeau sharpshooters

From left, Munising’s Jenna Matson tries to dish the ball to a teammate as Carney-Nadeau’s Taylor Kedsch tries to cut her off during the third quarter of an MHSAA Division 4 regional semifinal game played Monday at Westwood High School. Also in on the play is the Mustangs’ Emmy Crisp. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

“If Carney(-Nadeau) is going to shoot like that, I don’t know who’s beating them, but it certainly wasn’t going to be us.”

— Matt Mattson, head coach, Munising girls basketball

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ISHPEMING — Mondays are typically the day of the week people dread.

It certainly worked out that way for the Munising girls basketball team this week.

The Mustangs sprinted into Westwood High School on the strength of their fourth straight MHSAA Division 4 district tournament title.

Munising's Emmy Crisp, right, looks for a teammate to pass to as Carney-Nadeau's Taylor Kedsch defends during the second quarter of an MHSAA Division 4 girls basketball regional semifinal game played Monday at Westwood High School. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

But they were corralled by Carney-Nadeau early on and weren’t able to break free as the Wolves ended Munising’s season with a 67-32 win.

Jenna Matson led the Mustangs with 20 points, while Tessa Wagner had 22 points for the Wolves and Taylor Kedsch chipped in 20.

C-N got hot quickly and despite its best efforts, Munising couldn’t keep up.

Head coach Matt Mattson said that was the story of the game.

“We knew we had to clog the lane up on Tessa, that was our only chance,” he said. “My fault, trying to stick in the zone (defense) a little bit too long and Kedsch just went crazy on us. I think she had five triples in the first half and another one in the second half.

“If Carney is going to shoot like that, I don’t know who’s beating them, but it certainly wasn’t going to be us tonight.

“They played fantastic and that was our game plan. It was try to force the outside shot, limit them to one shot, but when they don’t miss, they’re tough to beat.”

Back-to-back treys from Kedsch put the Wolves up 12-4 before Matson answered with a three-point play. Later, a putback from Wagner gave C-N a 17-9 advantage after one quarter.

In the second period, the Wolves started to sprint away. Another triple from Kedsch pushed C-N’s lead to 24-9 and a pair of buckets from Haley Ernest made it 31-14 Wolves at the half.

A layup from Wagner in the third quarter got C-N’s advantage up to 29 at 48-19 and the Wolves were up 50-23 heading into the fourth quarter.

Matson tried to pull her team back in it with a triple and a nice breakaway layup off a steal to get the deficit under 30, but the result had already been written.

“Jenna is a warrior and if you’re going to play us, you know you have to guard her,” Mattson said. “She still had 20 (points) tonight, she had 61 through our district. She’s a tough, tough player.

“We couldn’t get the ball to go in for a couple of our other players that had been playing well and scoring lately. Obviously, inside there’s not much chance for us to score in there when our girls are 5-7 and Tessa is 6-3 in there.

“I thought Jenna played well. We didn’t get much from the supporting cast, but we played hard for the most part down the stretch and we packed it in a little bit, but Carney’s just a real, real good team.”

It’s been a trying year for the Mustangs, but Mattson was proud of how his team battled through tough times and grew along the way.

That’s how he’ll remember it.

“You know what, this season, a lot of life lessons,” he said. “You know, we started 1-6. Valerie Johnson, a player on our team, her father passes away from COVID. My father passes away three days later.

“We canceled two games during that stretch and next thing you know, we go 7-1 to end the year and win our fourth district in a row, which I never would’ve expected when we were 1-6 to start the year.

“So you know what, they’ve battled through adversity through the whole year. Carney’s a great team, our kids are going to hang their heads high and you know, that’s why we play high school sports.

“You learn some life lessons and we did that this year. It’s a very rewarding year, one of my most rewarding years, to be honest with you.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.

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