There is only one thing that the Huron girls’ basketball team should take with them from their loss on Friday afternoon to St. Ignace – their grit. While they didn’t play their best, they certainly showed an impressive determination to keep playing hard right until the final buzzer. And despite what the scoreboard said, the River Rats were supportive of each other, emotionally engaged and all-in until the very end.
St. Ignace led by four points at the break and by nine after three quarters on its way to a 65-52 win over Huron during the Motor City Roundball Classic at Westfield Prep in Redford. The River Rats would cut the lead to seven points in the final minutes with a shot to cut it to four – but just like everything else on this day, it just wasn’t meant to be.
It was one of those games where the shots don’t fall, the ball bounces the wrong way and the calls always seem to go against you. In other words, it wasn’t Huron’s day. So remember that grit and take everything else to the curb and toss it with all the Christmas boxes and wrapping paper.
The loss came despite outstanding games from the Smith sisters – both of those young ladies can shoot the rock and they kept Huron in the game. Siena Smith had 19 points and her sister Jadyn Smith scored 15. They combined for eight three-pointers, including four in the fourth quarter.
Senior Reeya Patel scored 10 and Brooklyn Cooper had four points for the River Rats.
The Saints, who have some very good shooters, rebound well and play hard, began the game with a three-pointer. But Siena Smith and Patel hit triples to give the River Rats a 10-9 lead. A layup by Siena Smith gave Huron a 15-12 lead but the Saints scored the final five points to lead 17-15 after one quarter.
The River Rats fell behind 25-17 midway through the second quarter. Siena Smith’s triple cut it to 25-20 and Jadyn Smith rebounded her own miss to make it 29-14 with 1:50 left in the half. Jadyn Smith’s triple from the corner made it 31-27 at the break.
The Saints maintained their lead in the third quarter. A triple from Siena Smith cut it to 33-30 midway through the quarter but again St. Ignace finished strong, going on a 9-3 run to lead 42-33 after three.
A three pointer from the top of key by Jadyn Smith cut the deficit to 44-38 with 6 minutes left in the game. With the score 47-38, Huron Coach Scott Hunter received a technical foul and then another one and was tossed from the game. Huron had eight team fouls in the first half to just one for St. Ignace. It was even worse in the second half – Huron had 16 team fouls (counting the technicals) to just two for the Saints. So, doing the math, 24-3 in team fouls. The River Rats weren’t getting many breaks and one could argue – as Hunter did – they weren’t getting many calls, either.
After the free throws for the technical fouls, St. Ignace led 50-38 with 5:32 left in the game. And this is where Huron showed its character, determination – and grit.
Despite being down 12, the River Rats dug in. Jadyn Smith’s triple cut the lead to 50-41 and a triple by Siena Smith made it 52-44 with 4:10 left in the game. Another triple by Siena Smith cut the lead to 54-47 with 3:30 to play.
But the Saints hit some free throws, played tough defense and held off the River Rats the rest of the way. They certainly deserved to win this game and showed their own grit and determination throughout the game. But it’s hard not to notice 24-3 in team fouls.