Girls Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Feb 11, 2021
- EAGLES: 60
UTICA HIGH SCHOOL: 38
got his point across to his Eisenhower girls basketball team.
“He gives us a pep talk every halftime,” said senior guard Emma Griffths, who triggered the Eagles’ 18-1 run to start the second half on the way to a 60-33 win against Utica in a Macomb Area Conference crossover game.
“It’s funny, because we start off a little rough in the first half. Then in the second half, we’re like new players. He just peps us up and pretty much tells us to get our heads in the game. Then we all just step it up."
Piper downplayed his halftime talk.
“I didn’t say anything special. I just told them to calm down and do what we do a little better. Rebound better, things like that. In a nice way, though,” he said with a smile.
Eisenhower trailed 25-23 at halftime but the Eagles quickly turned things around once the break ended. Griffiths scored on a layup to tie the game on an assist from Kennedy Kullman, who made a steal. Griffiths then made a steal of her own and went in for a layup to give Eisenhower a lead it never relinquished.
Griffiths scored 10 of her 13 points in the second half.
She said she feels more responsibilities as she heads into her final season.
“It makes me want to step up and be a leader more and motivate the girls’ play,” Griffiths said. “With COVID it’s a lot tougher. With the masks it’s a lot harder to play so we have to motivate each other to keep going.”
Both coaches agreed that the game turned when Utica’s Lina Rea had to sit down because her legs were cramping.
“That was a changing point right there when Lena had to go out of the game,” Piper said. “We took advantage of it. We started making some shots and we got some turnovers, got the lead and then increased the lead.”
Utica’s offense runs through Rea and with the limited practice time, it was even more apparent that the Chieftains need her on the court.
“We’re replacing a lot from last year so we had people handling the ball when Lena was out getting rid of the cramp that weren’t ready to handle the ball at this level,” said Utica coach Tom McDonald. “She makes us go. She’s so special. We had three live practices and everything we do is through her. We tell them to get her the ball — and then she’s not there. But we’ll figure it out.
“This game gives us a baptism by fire and hopefully we can get better from it. We played a good first half and I saw some good things in the second half. I liked our pressure at times, our defensive intensity. We have to get more movement in our offense. When you’re showing offense five on zero, it’s hard to get much continuity, but there are things to build off of.”
Sophomore Ava Stack led Eisenhower with 18 points and eight rebounds and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.
“She looks to score,” Piper said. “She has some good moves. She kept us in the game in the first half.”
Stack had eight points in the first quarter and 11 by halftime.
“I really like playing with Ava,” Griffiths said. ”I work well with her. She has such good communication.”
Rea led Utica with 13 points and Madi Bajis added 11. Maddie Cesarz pulled down eight rebounds for the Chieftains.