CADILLAC — Facing the Irish within a week of St. Patrick’s Day can’t be lucky.
And neither has been playing postseason contests in Cadillac for northern Michigan teams.
That double whammy of fortune hit Frankfort, as the Panthers were ousted from the Class D girls basketball tournament in Tuesday’s quarterfinal at Cadillac, falling to the Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart Irish 49-35.
“Nobody thought we were going to win,” said Irish point guard Sara Hansen, who led all scorers with 17 points, “so it feels pretty good to upset them.”
Sacred Heart (20-5) moves on to Thursday’s semifinal play at the Breslin Center, facing Marine City Cardinal Mooney (20-4). Frankfort finishes the season 23-2 after the setback in Cadillac, where the seasons of Traverse City West’s boys and girls hoops teams also came to an end.
Sacred Heart’s girls have made it at least to the quarterfinals in softball, volleyball and basketball in the last year.
“These girls are used to being champions,” Mount Pleasant sixth-year coach Damon Brown said. “... They know what it takes.”
The game started out well for Frankfort — until Sacred Heart figured out the Panthers’ press.
The Panthers forced Irish turnovers on four straight possessions to begin the contest and led 4-0 on buckets by Mackenna Kelly and Shayla Soto.
Sacred Heart would rally with a 7-0 run and the rest of the first half was a battle, with the lead changing hands 11 times. The Irish closed out the half with a 9-0 run — including a Hansen jumper with two ticks remaining — to take a 25-17 lead into the locker room.
“I think we were kind of nervous and came out too fast,” Hansen said. “We settled down and were breaking their press pretty well.”
“We were moving pretty well,” Frankfort coach Tim Reznich said. “I thought we executed what we talked about, as far as moving the ball and having a little patience. We wanted to go right inside at the big girl and we were able to get some good, easy buckets early.”