Benton Harbor puts Chieftains away in opening quarter
Published 10:44 am Sunday, February 5, 2023
BENTON HARBOR — The outcome of the Lakeland Conference basketball doubleheader at Benton Harbor was decided by the host Tigers in the opening quarter of both contests Friday night.
Benton Harbor outscored Dowagiac 21-7 in the first eight minutes of the girls basketball game on its way to a 42-38 win over the Chieftains, despite the Tigers being outscored 18-12 in the second half.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Tigers exploded for 26 first-quarter points, while holding the Chieftains to just three points en route to an easy 83-39 win over Dowagiac. It was the Tigers seventh consecutive victory and kept them undefeated an atop the Lakeland Conference standings.
Visiting Dowagiac was never able to climb out of the 14-point deficit it dug itself in the first quarter Friday night.
The Chieftains (8-7, 1-6 Lakeland) outscored the Tigers (12-5, 55-3 Lakeland) 13-9 in the second quarter to close the deficit to 30-20 at halftime. Dowagiac against outscored Benton Harbor in the third quarter 16-4 to close the gap to 34-26.
Unfortunately, the Chieftains were never able to catch the Tigers in the final eight minutes.
Maggie Weller led Dowagiac with 12 points, while Alanah Smith added 11 points and Audrey Johnson seven.
The Tigers were led by J’mya’s game-high 19 points. Janiza Wright and Kabrina Mays both finished with 10 points.
The Chieftains are back in action Tuesday as they travel to Three Rivers to face the former Wolverine Conference foe.
The host Tigers had more points at halftime (40) than the Chieftains scored for the entire contest.
Dowagiac, which has now lost 12 consecutive games, struggled shooting the ball from the field. The Chieftains hit just 32 percent of its attempts for the floor.
Benton Harbor led 40-18 at halftime and 62-29 heading into the fourth quarter.
Joshua Winchester-Jones led Dowagiac with seven points, while Gianni Villalobos and Isaiah Fitchett both finished with six points.
Grant Gondrezick scored a game-high 31 points to lead the Tigers, who also got 13 points from Brian Gillespie and 11 from Jkwon Lewis.
The Chieftains will host Three Rivers in a non-conference contest Tuesday night.