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Tigers drop season opener after slow start vs Cedarville

News Photo by James Andersen Hillman’s Melanie Morrison (41) and Cedarville’s Cassidy Barr fight for the ball after the opening jump ball during a girls basketball game on Tuesday at Hillman High School.

HILLMAN–A slow start cost the Hillman girls basketball team in its season opener.

Elysia Causley scored 22 points and Cedarville used a fast start to top the Tigers 61-34 on Tuesday at Hillman High School.

Season openers aren’t usually the smoothest games for most teams, but Jenny Taratuta, coaching in her first varsity game as Hillman coach, still expected the Tigers to play smart basketball.

They showed they could do it for a half against the Trojans and were only outscored 29-22 in the second half. But the opener was a tale of two halves as Hillman was hurt by first half turnovers and couldn’t recover from a 32-12 halftime deficit.

“We didn’t really know what spot to be in at what time and we were slow on our transitions. We were hesitant and thinking too late,” Taratuta said of the first half. “We saw our opportunities too late, we reacted on defense too late. I need them to have more intensity.”

Bailey Schook scored 16 points to lead Hillman and six different Tigers scored in the contest. Hillman’s defensive press created more offensive chances in the second half and Allyson Brown and Melanie Morrison were among those who gave Hillman a solid post presence and corralled several rebounds.

Morrison finished with four points and Brown had seven.

Causley got going early, showing impressive skills inside as she accounted for 11 of Cedarville’s 13 points. Hillman struggled to keep possession of the ball and the Trojans converted several turnovers into points. The Tigers trailed 18-9 after one quarter and were limited and made just three field goals in the first half.

“My expectation was to give 101%. If you weren’t going to run down the court, you weren’t going to play. If I didn’t see you actually looking for more than one opportunity, you weren’t going to play,” Taratuta said. “That’s why there was a lot of (players rotated) in and out and there was communication about what I was expecting.”

Hillman’s fortunes changed in the second half as the Tigers attacked the basket from the jump, making three shots in the first few minutes to cut the lead to 18. That was as close as Hillman got, but the Tigers looked more in sync and held their own with Cedarville, which Taratuta attributed to players understanding their roles better.

Hillman was only outscored 18-15 during the third quarter.

Emilie Bigelow added 10 points for the Trojans, Cassidy Barr had eight and Taylor Williams and Hope Hester each had seven.

Hillman plays at Mio on Friday.

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BOX SCORE: Field goals made/Free throws made/Free throws attempted/Total Points

CEDARVILLE (61): E. Causley 8 6-10 22; T. Williams 3 0-0 7; E. Bigelow 4 2-4 10; C. Barr 2 4-6 8; H. Hester 1 4-6 7; L. Freel 3 0-0 5; A. Pearson 1 0-0 2.

HILLMAN (34): M. Morrison 1 2-2 4; B. Schook 4 8-12 16; D. Stewart 1 0-0 3; J. Jones 1 0-2 2; A. Brown 3 1-2 7; M. Hiveley 1 0-0 2.

Oscoda 50,

Ogemaw Heights 30

WEST BRANCH–The Oscoda girls basketball team got its season off to a winning start on Monday, defeating Ogemaw Heights 50-30.

Lauren Langley led the Owls with 19 points, Macy Kellstrom had nine points, Izzy Hulverson had eight points and Megan Myles had six points.

Oscoda plays at Au Gres on Monday.

Oscoda’s JV team won 39-13. Mia Whipkey had 18 points and Grace Berquist had 13 points.

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