STANTON — A game of runs turned into a game of missed opportunities.
But Vestaburg had fewer missed chances than Central Montcalm. It propelled the Wolverines to a 54-50 overtime win over the Green Hornets on Thursday night.
Central (0-2) had its chances throughout the game at the free throw line, but connected on only 11 of 30.
“Free throws, that did us in,” Central coach Marty James said. “You can’t shoot 36 percent from the line and expect to win. Not in a tight game.”
Vestaburg coach Gary Keyes noted how each team had easy chances that they missed.
“There was a lot of give -and-take on that,” he said. “We missed some easy shots. We had some inopportune turnovers and they (Central) missed some free throws, so it kind of goes hand-in-hand.”
The Wolverines (1-1) missed a lot of easy shots in the first quarter, unable to put back offensive rebounds. That led to Vestaburg getting only three field goals for six points in the first quarter after starting the game on a 6-2 run.
However, the Hornets went on a 15-0 run over the final 3:12 of the first quarter and two minutes of the second quarter to take the lead. They went into halftime leading 23-17.
“I think we were running our press pretty effectively and created turnovers, which gave us some opportunities,” James said. “We’re much better when we can transition than we are in a half-court set. So that gave us some opportunities to transition.”
Vestaburg came back out of the break with a 12-0 run over the first 6:55, using a full-court press that allowed Central to score only two field goals and a free throw in the entire quarter. That tilted the score to 31-28 Wolverines after three quarters.
The Hornets whittled down a four-point deficit with 45 seconds to go to force overtime, but was outscored 11-7 in the extra period when they made only one field goal: an Amber Thomas three-pointer.
“We let them back in it and it was a battle the rest of the way,” James said. “Our kids battled. I gave them credit in the locker room. They battled back, they fought and they didn’t give up. We just have to make our free throws.”
Keyes said the same thing about his team.
“I think the fact that we persevered through a few things and turnovers allowed,” he said. “We didn’t get down and the girls kept their heads up.”
Vestaburg’s free throws weren’t much better, as they were 13-of-32 from the line.
Of the five Wolverines that scored, Taylor Darmody led with 21 points. Jannelle Rons and Emma Schuch added 12 each to the win.
Central’s top scorers were Michaela Crooks with 14 and Kortney McKeown with 10.
“Very, very agressive,” Keyes said of the Green Hornets. “If they knock their free throws down, they’re going to win a lot of games this year, no doubt.”
The Wolverines will play against Beal City Monday at home. Central, meanwhile, opens CSAA play Dec. 9 at Lakeview in the front end of a boy-girl doubleheader.