Flivver defense dominates opener
By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD – Kingsford’s defense overshadowed a solid offensive showing Tuesday in the girls basketball season opener with North Dickinson.
The Flivvers, who checked the Nordics to just 11 first-half points, rolled to a 70-35 decision. Courtney Qualley’s 15 points topped seven players with at least six points.
“Defensively, we did some pretty good things with our pressure,” Kingsford Coach Mike Cross said. “I think that’s where we have to hang our hat this year.”
“Offensively, I think we can score easier than we have for the last couple years. We’ve got some kids that can shoot. Kids that are smooth around the basket.”
Kingsford forced 33 turnovers, with Jaelyn Jennings, Annika Erickson and Amber Larson each pocketing four of the team’s 23 steals.
“Kingsford’s speed gave us fits,” Nordics coach Mike Roell said. “But we’ve got some things to build on. I was encouraged by how hard we played.”
The Flivvers built an 18-7 margin after the first stanza. The halftime difference was 16 after a 9-4 second quarter.
“Elizabeth Charlevoix went out early (with a poke to the face) and that hurt us offensively,” Roell said. “I thought defensively we played all right.”
“We hung in there but we couldn’t score. We were on eight forever.”
Lexi Steele rimmed nine and Samantha Tolonen had eight points to lead the Nordics. Chelsey Stroud sacked six points and 11 boards.
Qualley hooped 10 of her 15 points in the third quarter. Maria Wiltzius tacked on 11 points and nine rebounds. Jennings was the third Flivver in double-digit points with 10.
“In the moments we were all actually doing the same thing we were pretty good,” Cross said. “It was the moments when some of them were doing one thing and some were doing the another thing, that’s when we struggled a little bit. But that’s going to come.”
North Dickinson, hoping to overcome shortcomings in speed, played a 1-3-1 zone defense.
“We thought that would work best tonight,” Roell said. “They were a little confused early. Then we got tired and they started making their shots.
“Holding them to 27 was not half bad but we had to have 24 or 25 instead of 11.”
On Friday, Kingsford visits Westwood and North Dickinson entertains Stephenson.
“Our kids have got the right idea,” Roell said. “We just need to clean things up.”
In the junior varsity game, Mariana Bianco scored 18 points in the Flivvers’ 65-34 win over the Nordics. Brianna Robinson and Savannah Martin each added 10 and Brandie Winkler had nine. Kimberly Pekarek and Sara Borvan hooped eight apiece for North Dickinson.
Hannah Carlson netted 18 points and Kingsford’s freshmen spilled Peshtigo 55-33. Sydney Wickman chipped in 15 points and Abby Tomasoski had 13.
North Dickinson 7 4 10 14 – 35
Kingsford 18 9 23 20 – 70
NORTH DICKINSON: Rotter 3, Steele 9, Miller 4, Stroud 4, Roell 3, Steinbrecher 4, Tolonen 8. FT: 8-15. F: 16.
KINGSFORD: Hendricksen 4, Walters 3, Jennings 10, Lindeman 8, Shanks 6, Erickson 6, Larson 7, Wiltzius 11, Qualley 15. FT: 14-20. F: 14.
3-point FG: Shanks 2, Erickson, Qualley 3. FG shooting: Kingsford 25-75, ND 12-53. Rebounding: ND 38 (Stroud 11), Kingsford 30 (Wiltzius 9).