Bobcats stretch winning streak to six straight games 

GRAYLING — Houghton Lake’s girl’s basketball team has put its 1-4 start firmly in the rear view mirror with a six-game winning streak after a convincing 66-40 win over Grayling in a Jack Pine Conference game Friday, Jan. 19.

It kept the Bobcats in a three-way tie for second place in the conference with Farwell and Clare with matching 5-3 league records. Houghton Lake improved to 7-4 overall. Farwell is 9-3 and Clare 6-4.

Coming the last-second win over Clare the night before, and with a clash with league-leading Gladwin looming, this could easily have been a “trap” game for the Bobcats. But, the Bobcats took over from the second quarter on for the lopsided win.

“I knew we wouldn’t be sharp early, and it would take some time to get our legs under us,” Houghton Lake coach Greg Kauffman said. “I just hoped our defense could keep us in it long enough for our offense to catch up.”

That proved true, as the Vikings jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the game’s first three minutes. Kauffman made a couple substitutions, and the Bobcats’ energy picked up. Grayling led by three after one, but the Bobcats took off after that.

Lainey Meigs produced a career-high with 30 points. Macy Bisballe had eight points, six rebounds and three steals. Mackenzie Forman added six points and Lexi Blanchard contributed five points and eight assists.

Alexis Souder finished with five points, five steals and three assists. Taylor Nutt had four points and eight rebounds. Ally Sajdak contributed four points and three rebounds. Sarah Barnes had two points and three assists and Korryn Marshall had two points.

Bobcats 51, Clare 49

Trailing by six points with 90 seconds to play in regulation, the Bobcats forced a couple of turnovers and were given a lift offensively when freshman Mach Bisballe hit two big baskets to bring Houghton Lake within two.

Lainey Meigs’ layup after a steal on an inbounds play tied the game. She was fouled as well, and calmy returned to the line after a Clare timeout to make the free throw for a thrilling 51-49 win over Clare on Thursday, Jan. 18.

“This shows just how far this team has come since the start of the season,” Kauffman said. “We really took it on the chin in the first matchup of the season, but tonight we battled until the final buzzer. Also have to also thank our fans. They have really been unbelievable this season.”

Bisballe scored 22 points to lead the Bobcats and she added four rebounds. Meigs contributed 14 points with four rebounds, three steals and three assists. Alexis Sounder finished with four points, seven rebounds and two steals. Mackenzie Forman added four points, three rebounds and two assists, Taylor Nutt had three points, four rebounds and two blocks, Sarah Barnes chipped in with two points, four rebounds and two assists and Lexi Blanchard finished with two points, two steals and four assists.

Bobcats 56, Roscommon 39

The bench stepped up big for the Bobcats in a 56-39 victory over county and conference rival Roscommon, contributing 20 points, 16 rebounds, six steals and four assists in a 56-39 victory on Friday, Jan. 12.

Offensive balance was also a key for the Bobcats, as three players scored in double figures led by Meigs with 14 points, followed by Souder with 12 and Nutt with 10. Souder also accounted for five rebounds and four steals.

Bisballe contributed nine points, four rebounds and three steals. Blanchard added three points, five assists and four steals. Ellie Connett had four points and three rebounds. Ally Sajdak finished with two points, five rebounds and two assists. Mackenzie Forman had two points, one steal and one assist.

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