TRAVERSE CITY — If district championships could be won on paper, McBain girls basketball coach Todd Hamlet would’ve been happy to accept the trophy on Wednesday at St. Francis High School and shift focus to next week’s regional.
But despite a convincing 57-42 semifinal win over Traverse City St. Francis — a battle between the teams with the two best records in the six-team district tournament — Hamlet realizes there’s still more work to do before any hardware is hoisted.
“There’s still one more game left,” said Hamlet. “If I could just put it on paper and take it I would, but I think Glen Lake (Friday’s opponent) is going to have something to say about that. I do believe these are the two best teams in the district, but you’ve got to play Friday.”
Junior guard Meredith Hamlet paced McBain’s effort against St. Francis, leading all scorers with 19 points and adding seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Eleven of her points came in a decisive second quarter where the Ramblers (18-2) outscored the Gladiators 21-8 to build a 36-22 halftime lead. St. Francis never got closer than 12 in the second half.
“In the second quarter we tried to push the ball because that’s our game,” said Meredith Hamlet. “We just wanted to stick to our game. It was definitely a team effort and we knew coming into this game it was going to have to be a team effort if we wanted to win.”
Kara Hughston and Asia Lagrow each added nine points for McBain. Michaela Koopman and Katelyn Loeks each grabbed six boards. Anne Lyman led St. Francis (18-3) with 14 points. The Gladiators’ freshmen frontcourt duo of Juliana Phillips and Sarah Carney added 12 and nine points, respectively.
The Ramblers’ defense keyed the second-quarter run with four quick turnovers that led to baskets during a 10-2 spurt.