TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central was a different team when it emerged from the half of Wednesday’s girls basketball game against Ogemaw Heights.
The Trojans struggled mightily in the first two quarters, but got it turned around in the second half and came away with a 41-26 victory at Central High School.
Central (2-6, 2-2 Big North) outscored the Falcons 27-11 in the last 16 minutes, including a run of eight unanswered points to finish the contest.
“Good passing, reversing the ball, then actually hustling,” Central sophomore Sierra Fraser said, noting what the difference was between the two halves. “I don’t think it was because of a long layover. I don’t think we were working as hard as we possibly could. I think we turned it around in the second half.”
In the first game since the Christmas break, the sluggish start was felt by both teams as they were plagued by sloppy play. After Ogemaw went into the half with a 15-14 lead, Central head coach Heather Simpson challenged her team to play better.
“We had a good halftime talk,” said Simpson. “We really executed in that second half and got our defense going. When they have confidence they’re fun to watch. It’s just getting them to believe in themselves.”
Central allowed one early basket that gave the Falcons the lead for the last time, but they didn’t sink another field goal until late in the fourth quarter as the Trojans’ defense got stingy.
“A couple of quick turnover baskets and we just didn’t look back,” said Simpson. “We needed this. We’ve been telling them all year that they’re a good team. They just have to play like that. Get the loose balls, box out, the little things. Then the other stuff will fall.”
Callie Bartkowiak led Central with 11 points and Fraser added 10. Ogemaw (1-5, 1-4) was paced by Sam Hasse’s 11 points.
Central’s junior varsity (3-5) won 45-31 over Ogemaw. Abby Green led the Trojans with 19 points. In the freshman game, Central’s Mary Drake poured in 34 points in a 47-39 win for the Trojans (1-3).