Rangers take advantage of foul trouble to eliminate Bees

Published 11:28 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023

COLOMA — A slow start could not keep the Cassopolis girls basketball team from advancing to the Division 3 District semifinals at Coloma Monday night.

The Rangers found themselves down 9-7 after one quarter, but rallied to outscore Bridgman 47-25 over the final three quarters to roll to a 54-44 victory over the Bees.

Cassopolis (17-6) advances to Wednesday’s semifinal against No. 3-ranked Buchanan. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Rangers’ Coach Stefon Luckey said that slow starts not unusual for his team lately, but they have been able to over them.

“We have been doing that all year,” he said. “Once they get going, we are okay. Hopefully, we can get going like that the next couple of games.”

Cassopolis was able to take advantage of early foul trouble for the Bees. Bridgman’s 6-foot-1 center, Tatyanna Hill, picked up two quick fouls in the opening quarter, but was not taken out of the game. Shortly thereafter, she picked up her third foul and was forced to head to the bench.

The Bees (16-5) committed eight fouls in the opening eight minutes, which allowed the Rangers to shoot free throws for the second half of the opening quarter and the entire second quarter.

Cassopolis ended up 16-of-28 from the free throw line.

The Rangers poured in 22 second-quarter points, while holding the Bees to six points, which allowed them to open up a 29-15 halftime advantage. Hill returned to the court with 3:03 remaining in the first-half, but lasted just 1:30 before being whistled for her fourth foul.

“That was our plan, to get No. 14 in foul trouble,” Luckey said the Cass game plan for Hill. “We wanted to drive to the basket.”

Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter as they combined for 12 points. The Rangers were able to stretch their lead slightly and took a 38-19 advantage into the final eight minutes of play.

Ryley Bowsher came up huge for Cassopolis as she scored 17 points, which included five of the Rangers’ six 3-pointers. Cassopolis also got 17 points from Atyanna Alford. Ella Smith added seven points before fouling out.

Bridgman was led by Kaylee Schebel’s 11 points. She was the lone Bee to reach double fitures.