HOUGHTON LAKE — It was definitely a tale of two halves for the Houghton Lake girls basketball team in the MHSAA Class C district championship game Friday, March 2, at Houghton Lake in a thrilling 43-38 comeback win over Lake City.
The Bobcats struggled with nervous tension to start the game, according to head coach Greg Kauffman which left them unable to catch a pass, or shoot the ball against Lake City.
Like good teams will, the Trojans capitalized on the Bobcats mistakes — which included 14 first half turnovers — and mounted a 16-point lead at halftime, 29-13.
“I told the girls at the half it wasn’t our defense, it was the offense that was killing us,” Kauffman said. “We had no patience, we weren’t making Lake City guard anyone. It was one pass and a shot, or we turned it over with lazy passes.
“After that, the message was simple: ‘I know a team that was down 14 in the fourth quarter just a few weeks ago, and came back and won. So, 16 points in two quarters is doable if we take care of the ball, and make some shots so we can get into our press.'”
Just as they’ve done all year, the Bobcats responded and played a second half that Kauffman believes they will never forget. Houghton Lake committed only seven turnovers in the second half, while the defense and their crowd got them back in the game.
Houghton Lake kept getting stops, and once the ball started going in the hoop, the crowd became a huge factor according to Kauffman.
“It was the biggest crowd I have seen at a girls game in probably 10 years, and once we gave them something to cheer about, they came our sixth man,” said Kauffman.
“Then, it turned into an avalanche that the Lake City kids just couldn’t stop. After the third quarter, we had cut it (the deficit) to seven. You could see it in the kids’ eyes. They knew we had Lake City on the ropes. Now, it was time to finish it.”
Finish it the Bobcats did, outscoring the Trojans, 18-4 in the fourth period. It was the team’s 14th win in their last 17 games.
Houghton Lake enjoyed a balanced offense, led by Lainey Meigs with 10 points and eight rebounds. Macy Bisballe added nine points and 10 rebounds. Alexis Souder finished with nine points and six steals. Taylor Nutt contributed nine points and seven rebounds. Lexi Blanchard scored four points, picked off three steals and dished out four assists. Logan Ordiway had two points and four rebounds.
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