Girls Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Jan 4, 2019
- VIKINGS: 53
LUMEN CHRISTI HIGH SCHOOL: 44
JACKSON -- Jackson coach Elliot Munz was trying to describe what was different about this season compared to years past.
After a disappointing 10-12 season in 2017-18, the Vikings already sit at 4-2 overall this year.
Both losses came in conference play, but his team didn’t let that derail their goals like it might have the season prior. Instead, it’s rallied to win consecutive games, the latest of which came against rival Lumen Christi on Friday night, 53-44.
So what’s the difference?
“The best way to describe it is this quote I heard,” Munz began. “Freshmen want to play, sophomores want to start, juniors want to score and seniors want to win...The experience of our starters helps, our supporting cast is awesome and the girls are forcing less, they’re taking better shots and you can just see how much the game has slowed down for them.”
Four seniors lead the way for Jackson: Jada Moorehead, Romee Natschke, Lauren Perdue -- who transferred back into the district this year -- and Amaya Taylor. That’s not to mention junior standout Jada Patton and up-and-coming freshman Maya Pierce.
This team has leadership and experience it hasn’t had before this season -- Moorehead, Natschke and Taylor have all played on varsity for three or more seasons under Munz -- and now with Patton and Piernce, it has the depth to compensate for its senior players having off nights.
But Friday, Moorehead was in charge from the beginning. She played a big role in getting Lumen Christi’s junior standout Cat Carroll in foul trouble early and finished with a game-high 24 points.
Nobody else finished in double figures for the Vikings, Pierce scored nine, but Munz was happy with his team’s effort overall.
“Romee only had two points tonight, but didn’t take any bad shots, didn’t force anything and had some big rebounds over Cat Carroll when she was helping with Jada,” Munz said. “There’s a lot less stress this time around, let’s put it that way. The seniors are making the right plays and they don’t need it to be their night every night.”
What might have Munz most excited about this season’s development is what it could mean for future years. Losing four starters will hurt going forward without a doubt, but the teaching which is going on from athlete-to-athlete hadn’t happened in recent years and Jackson’s coach can see the underclassmen absorbing the lessons of their peers.
“The younger girls are learning from (the seniors),” Munz said. The older girls are vocal, they talk to the younger girls and tell them what to do, but it’s in a good way, it’s always positive. They can say what they do wrong, but it’s not negative in your face, they just pull them to the side and talk to them."
Friday’s development could be big for Jackson going forward. Jackson beat Grand Ledge in the opener, but outside of that didn’t have a win against a good team yet this season. That changed on Friday and it checked off one of the team’s goals for the year.
“It’s huge, Lumen is our biggest rival, we treat it like Ohio State-Michigan,” Munz said. "That’s always one of the biggest games of the year, bragging rights for the town, they played hard and together and I’m happy for them.
“We wanted to make a run at the conference, beat lumen and improve upon last year’s record... so that’s one (of the goals) down.”
As for the Titans, this one will hurt for a while. Lumen Christi went a combined 8-35 the past two seasons, winning just four games each year. The culture of the team felt different this year, the goal set at the beginning of the year was to finish .500 or better and Friday would have been a chance to prove that the program is on the up and up.
Instead, Lumen Christi committed a season-high 29 turnovers and shot just 6-of-15 from the free-throw line in the loss.
“Our locker room talk after the game wasn’t a rant, it was how will we respond to one we let get away tonight,” said Lumen Christi coach Mike Wilson. “We’re going to remember January 4th for a while.”
The game could have been even tighter than it was. The Titans trailed by six at the half when Carroll picked up her third foul early in the third quarter. Wilson went to his bench for a sub, but before the next dead ball, Carroll picked up her fourth and had to sit nearly an entire quarter’s worth.
She still finished with a double-double, leading the team with 14 points and 10 rebounds, but her presence on the court was missed.
“As we departed tonight, everybody was a little mad with the outcome, it wasn’t the gamed we’d hoped it to be, wasn’t the game we’d worked on the last three days” Wilson said. “I’m totally not a fan of playing over winter break, I’m not sure how we let this get scheduled and it did and we had to make the most of it. By no means is that any excuse, but it’s tough over Christmas break to play a crosstown rivalry game at that and expect the girls to get up for it when they haven’t been together in a little while.”
Still, Wilson knows nobody is going to feel sorry for his team, which now slides to 3-3 overall but remains 2-1 in the Interstate-8. And even with the deflating loss, Lumen Christi has a chance to bounce back in a big way.
Five of the Titans' next six games are at home, however each of those next five games comes against teams which are .500 or better. That will give Lumen Christi a chance to show exactly how far it’s come.
“Considering the way the season went last year with the wins and losses, the girls attitude and the outlook for this season was very high going into today,” Wilson said. “That hasn’t changed, but we know we have a long weekend to think about what we want and how we can make it happen.”