Good effort falls short for Chieftains

Published 11:33 am Friday, January 23, 2009

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Dowagiac Daily News
The Dowagiac varsity girls' basketball team suffered another defeat on Thursday night, but took a few steps forward for the second consecutive contest.
The Chieftains, who showed a lot of desire and heart in its loss to Plainwell on Monday night, dropped a hard-fought 56-48 Wolverine Conference decision to visiting Otsego on Thursday evening.
The Lady Bulldogs held a 30-21 lead at halftime only to see it evaporate in the third quarter.
Dowagiac (2-6, 2-4 Wolverine) outscored Otsego 12-5 to close to within two points (35-33) heading into the final quarter.
The Chieftains tied the game at 35-35 on a basket by Britnee Allerton just 30 seconds into the fourth quarter and then took its only lead of the game 16 seconds later on a pair of free throws by Kaisha Martin.
The Lady Bulldogs were able to square the game at 37 on Rhonda Koscialak's only basket of the game with 6:51 remaining. From there, back-to-back baskets by Kelsey Kuipers and a 3-pointer from Molly Sleeman with 4:57 left in the contest sealed the victory for Otsego.
Dowagiac continued to battle over the final five minutes, but couldn't seem to come up with that big stop at the defensive end it needed as the Lady Bulldogs poured in 21 points in the final eight minutes.
Unforced turnovers were also a key down the stretch for the Chieftains.
"They played strong defense against us and I thought we were trying to force some things to happened which resulted in unforced errors," Dowagiac coach Dick O'Day said. "We were trying to make something happen, but we were standing a lot of times when we should have been moving."
Otsego (6-3, 4-3 Wolverine) were never really able to shake loose of the Chieftains Thursday night.
Dowagiac kept hanging around and eventually made a run in the third and beginning of the fourth quarters to gain the lead.
The Lady Bulldogs held a 14-8 scoring advantage in the opening quarter and stretched their lead to nine points at halftime – taking a 30-21 advantage to the locker room.
Torie Lowe, Allerton and Martin spearheaded the comeback in the third quarter as they scored five, four and three points respectively.
On the other end of the court, Kuipers and Chelsea Yeggy led the effort for the Lady Bulldogs in the fourth quarter by scoring six points each.
Otsego made 6-of-9 free throws in the final stanza to help hold off the Dowagiac charge.
Lowe, who leads the league in scoring at 17.3 points per game, finished with a game-high 17. Martin added 11 points and Allerton six. Allerton also had seven rebounds.
Kuipers tossed in 14 points to lead the Lady Bulldogs, who also got 13 points from Kathy DeYoung and nine points from Sleeman.
The Lady Bulldogs were 12-of-42 from the field and 12-of-23 from the free throw line compared to 13-of-48 from the field and 20-of-26 for the Chieftains.
Dowagiac was outrebounded by Otsego 19-16. Both teams turned the ball over 17 times.
The Chieftains are back in action Saturday night as they travel to Paw Paw.
Kathy DeYoung 6 1-2 13; Rhonda Koscialak 1 0-0 2; Molly Sleeman 3 1-2 9; Jamie Ross 0 0-0 0; Chelsea Yeggy 2 4-7 8; Hannah Stevenson 1 0-0 2; Amanda Kreuze 2 0-0 4; Katie Porter 1 2-2 4; Kelsey Kuipers 5 4-10 14. TOTALS: 21 12-23 56
Tasia Diaz 1 0-0 2; Torie Lowe 2 11-12 17; Kaisha Martin 2 7-10 11; Andrea Bradshaw 1 0-0 2; Brittany Gnatz 0 2-2 2; Britnee Allerton 3 0-0 6; Kayleigh Hutchings 2 0-2 4; Cassie Stone 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 13 20-26 48
Otsego 14 30 35 56
Dowagiac 8 21 33 48
3-point goals: Otsego 2 (Sleeman), Dowagiac 2 (Lowe). Total fouls (fouled out): Otsego 19, Dowagiac 16. Varsity records: Otsego 6-3, 4-3 Wolverine; Dowagiac 2-6, 2-4 Wolverine