The Year in Photos...
Ski Valley All Conference Players are named
The following J-L girls basketball players have been named to the all conference:
First Team All Conference:
Second Team All Conference:
Herald Times All-Area Girls Basketball Team
STEPHANIE FISHER J-L • Senior • Co-Player of the Year
Key Stats: 20.1 points; 4.5 steals; 3.6 rebounds; 3.5 assists
Awards: 2010 Class D All-State (First Team); All-Ski Valley Conference First Team (Senior, Junior); All-Ski Valley Conference Second Team (Sophomore); Herald Times All-Area First Team (Junior, Sophomore); Herald Times All-Area Third Team (Freshman).
MARY SCHLICHER • J-L • Senior • Co-Player of the Year
Key Stats: 15.4 points; 10.1 rebounds
Awards/Accomplishments: All-Ski Valley Conference First Team (Senior); All-Ski Valley Conference Second Team (Junior); Herald Times All-Area First Team (Junior); Was J-L’s leading scorer during 2009 and 2010 postseason runs.
KATELYN FISHER • J-L • Senior
JOHANNESBURG — Both Stephanie Fisher and Mary Schlicher are as unassuming and humble as can be. But even they admit they have reached somewhat of a celebrity status at Johannesburg-Lewiston High School.
On their own, Fisher and Schlicher are great players. But together, they were something special, as they were the big reason the Cardinals have won three-straight regional titles. After racking up a number of postseason awards, Fisher and Schlicher can add another — Herald Times Area Co-Players of the Year.
Girls Coach of the Year: Good things come in threes for Huff
JOHANNESBURG — The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team does not make its bread and butter with the three-point shot.
But coach Heather Huff certainly likes her threes.
Huff guided the Cardinals to their third-straight regional championship this season — another exclamation point on what has been the best three-year run in the history of J-L basketball.
And now, for the third-straight year, Huff has been named Herald Times Area Coach of the
One more, and she’ll match the four-straight awards won by St. Mary’s Jim Kerfoot from 2000 to 2003.
Huff has developed the Cardinal program into a winning machine, consistently beating most teams by a healthy margin. In the past three years, she has coached three HT Area Players of the Year — Ashlie House, Stephanie Fisher and Mary Schlicher.
Despite graduating five starters from this year’s team, don’t expect a huge drop off in 2011. Huff has built herself one of the state’s most respected Class D programs and with Huff at the helm, the Cardinals will always be a tough team to beat.
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Fisher named all-state by Free Press, News
JOHANNESBURG — Make it three for three for Johannesburg-Lewiston senior Stephanie Fisher.Jenkins, who led the area by averaging 20.3 points per game, was a Fourth Team All-State pick while Brush, who averaged 18.1 points, was a Tenth Team All-State pick.
Fisher, already an Associated Press First Team Class D All-State pick, was recently selected onto the Class D First Team for both the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News.
She was featured in both publications. In the Free Press, J-L coach Heather Huff had this to say about her star guard, who averaged 20.1 points, 4.5 steals and 3.5 assists:
“She’s very fluid. She can drive to the basket extremely well. She has a knack for getting to the basket, but has also developed her outside shot. She’s a threat off the dribble and can hit the three-point shot.”
Fisher wasn’t the only local player to garner all-state honors. On the boys side of things, J-L sophomore Logan Jenkins and Wolverine senior Josh Brush were both selected to the bankhoops.com’s Class D all-state team.
JOHANNESBURG — Seniors Stephanie Fisher and Mary Schlicher were Johannesburg-Lewiston’s dynamic duo all season long, so it’s no surprise that both were selected to the All-Ski Valley Conference First Team this week.
Head, an unheralded player, averaged 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds, while Katelyn Fisher was a hard-working starter who stood out defensively.
Westerman broke the mold of a typical First Team all-league player. She averaged just six points per game, but the three-year starter, was in the middle of anything the Snowbirds did offensively and was a defensive scrapper. She added 4.9 assists, 4.2 steals and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Jacob, on her first season on varsity, emerged as the team’s leading scorer at 10.8 points per game. She also grabbed five rebounds per game. Reppuhn had a nice senior season, posting averages of 8.4 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game.
Stephanie Fisher named 1st-Team All-State
JOHANNESBURG — It was clear to anybody playing against or watching Stephanie Fisher, that she was one of the best girls basketball players in the state of Michigan.
This week, even those who haven’t watched Fisher honored her, as the senior guard was named to the Associated Press’ Class D all-state team.
Fisher, a four-year starter, emerged as the go-to threat for the Lady Cardinals, who finished the season with a 23-3 record and lost to Ontonagon by three points in Tuesday’s Class D quarterfinal.
The do-it-all Fisher averaged 20.1 points, 4.9 steals, 3.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. She also was considered the area’s top defensive player, holding a number of talented players well below their season averages.
A player that Fisher and J-L are very familiar with, Central Lake junior Jasmine Hines, was named Class D’s top player. Hines scored her 2,000th career point against J-L earlier this season and averaged 35 points, 18 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots per game.
Also on the first team was Lauren Robak of Waterford Our Lady, Courtney Holsworth of Republic-Michigamme, Christina Branch of Kentwood West Michigan Lutheran, Chelsea
Other area players included in the Special Mention or Honorable Mention sections for all-state were Kayla Weaver of Fairview, Allie Nave of Onaway and Kelsie Blamer of Mio.
J-L senior Mary Schlicher, who scored 30 points against Ontonagon Monday and averages more than 15 points and 10 rebounds per game was snubbed from the list, but is likely to garner all-state honors from either the Detroit Free Press or Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM). Schlicher will graduate as, quite possibly, the best big-game player in Johannesburg-Lewiston history.
Schlicher sisters stand out in a big way for Cardinals
SAULT STE. MARIE — Like the sun always rising, Johannesburg-Lewiston’s Mary Schlicher always shows up for big games.
Schlicher, who has been J-L’s most consistent player during the past two seasons, had a career night in Tuesday’s 50-47 loss to Ontonagon in the Class D quarterfinals.
She scored an impressive 30 points in the game, including 16 points in J-L’s fourth quarter comeback. It was the exclamation point on a career filled with similar performances in the most pressure-packed situations.
Schlicher was left off the Associated Press Class D all-state team but is, without a doubt one of the top Class D players in the state. She averaged more than 15 points and 10 rebounds per game this season, but what those who voted for the AP team didn’t know is that she averaged between two and two and a half quarters per game because the Cardinals won by an average margin of 40 points.
With many of J-L’s other regulars struggling, Schlicher single-handedly kept the Cardinals in the game. In the fourth quarter, she was joined by her freshman sister, Abby Schlicher, in carrying the team back into contention. Abby was a defensive standout against Ontonagon, creating havoc with her speed and pressure defense.
The combination hooked up for more than a few steals by Abby and conversions by Mary.
For any player to score 30 points in a game is quite an accomplishment. But, for someone to do it in a game as big as the quarterfinals, truly deserves credit. If there ever were an all-state game, Schlicher had it Tuesday. And if her performance was any indication, young Abby could be well on her way to some future honors, as well.
There is a reason that people like me wake up every morning and love their job. That in a world that features plenty of bigger and more prestigious sporting events, I am perfectly content being the sports editor of a small-town newspaper.
It’s not because of some of the ugly situations I’ve viewed during my time here. Those times when parents, coaches and players squabble and the consequence of such is that nobody wins. It’s not because of the criticism I’m apt to occasionally take in a business that sometimes, no matter what you write, you’re bound to upset someone.
No, everything that is good and right about covering high school sports could be summed up in one sweltering gym Tuesday night, as the hometown Johannesburg-Lewiston Cardinals battled the Ontonagon Gladiators.
Through four quarters of constant intensity, I twisted and turned as my heart wrenched with every play. I’m not supposed to root for anyone, but it was hard not to stand and cheer as J-L made a wild fourth-quarter comeback. It was, without a doubt, one of the best high school games I have ever witnessed.
The Lady Cards exemplify everything that is right with high school sports. Win or lose, they battle to the end and they are gracious in victory and defeat. They are a group of kind, polite girls driven by the common goal of success. They are coached by a hometown kid in Heather Huff and have all of Johannesburg and Lewiston behind them.
It truly was a “turn the lights off as you leave town” moment Tuesday. The team left Johannesburg with a police and fire truck escort and paraded through downtown Gaylord with a constant chorus of honking behind them. Following them was hundreds-upon-hundreds of faithful fans who made the two-hour trek to Sault Ste. Marie. If I were a bank robber, and there were a bank in Johannesburg, it would have been a field day.
The fans were with the Cardinals until the end, urging them on in the fourth quarter with inspired cheers. After the game, the Lady Cardinals took a bow as a token of gratitude to the dedicated legion of followers.
My heart sunk as I watched the J-L seniors walk off the court for the last time. I especially hurt for all-state senior Stephanie Fisher, whose brilliant career will be remembered as one of the best in J-L and Otsego County history.
I began reflecting on the past three years — a magical streak that saw the Cardinals post a 70-8 record, win three straight district and regional titles and qualify for the 2009 state semifinals. It has truly been a magical ride, one that has lifted Johannesburg-Lewiston to the status of one of the best programs in the state. It’s a program that will lose a lot come graduation date, but one that has generated tremendous interest in Johannesburg and Lewiston.
Just going to Huff’s summer camp lets me know that nearly every girl around dreams of wearing the red and white of the Lady Cardinals. I’m convinced that it’s only a matter of time before we see more Stephanie Fishers and Mary Schlicher's.
Thank you, Lady Cardinals, for continuously proving what is special about high school sports. I think all of Cardinal nation would agree — it has truly been a pleasure.
SAULT STE. MARIE — Johannesburg-Lewiston did all it could to overcome its coldest night of the season, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.
The Cardinals fell 50-47 to Ontonagon in a thrilling, physical Class D quarterfinal game Tuesday, despite a wild second-half comeback attempt.
After falling behind 15 points in the third quarter, the Cardinals were teetering on the edge of taking the lead through much of the fourth quarter, but couldn’t quite get over the hump.
“I was really impressed with how we came back like we did,” said J-L coach Heather Huff. “We never gave up and kept fighting until the end. These girls dug deep and left it all out on the floor.”
That comeback was predicated by the Schlicher sisters, who performed admirably. Freshman Abby Schlicher spearheaded the charge on the defensive end, using her speed to pester the Gladiators’ ball handlers. Taking advantage of steals often generated by her sister, senior Mary Schlicher scored 16 of her game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter, as the Cardinals cut the Ontonagon lead to two by going on a 15-4 run to start the fourth.
Mary Schlicher added 13 rebounds for the Cardinals.
Final Word: Lady Cards earn style points with up-tempo attack
“It makes the game exciting,” said J-L coach Heather Huff. “It leads to a lot of layup's and short shots, which are easier to make. It wears the opponent down in the second half.”
ST. IGNACE — Following Johannesburg-Lewiston’s 72-49 triumph against Pickford in Thursday’s regional final, the J-L bus, along with many fans, converged at a St. Ignace gas station for a pit stop before heading home.
The scene was something out of the movie. There was honking and hooting as J-L players and coach Heather Huff walked out.
Even though the Cardinals are making regional championships look as easy as walking, the Lady Cards are still treated like rock stars to their faithful legion of fans.
And, for good reason. For the third-straight season, J-L has emerged as the best in the regional. Now, the Cardinals (23-2) will battle mighty Ontonagon (23-2) from the western edge of the Upper Peninsula for a chance to play again at next week’s Class D state semifinals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. Game time is 7 p.m. Tuesday in Sault Ste. Marie.
“It’s still really exciting,” said jubilant J-L coach Heather Huff. “We’re not going to overlook anybody, but the girls are focused on getting back to the state finals. That have it in their head.”
Thursday’s game was a contrast in halves. In the first half, Pickford (21-4), stayed right with the Cardinals. Despite the best half of the season by J-L senior Mary Schlicher, J-L was ahead just 31-25 heading into the locker room.
Schlicher owned the paint and the offensive glass in the first half, scoring 17 of her 24 points. Senior Stephanie Fisher was all over the floor in the first half, but only scored four points. That all changed in the second half, when Fisher netted 20 points including four three-pointers. Schlicher finished with 18 rebounds and nine steals, while Fisher added six steals.
The Cardinals’ top two players shone brightly when it mattered most.
“They both really stepped it up,” Huff said. “Stephanie hit some huge three pointers and Mary really crashed the boards. They both also played excellent defense.”
Like a shark smelling blood in the water, the Cardinals attacked in the second half. They were still up six points midway through the third, before they closed on a 10-0 run, highlighted by a put back by Schlicher and back-to-back three-pointers by Fisher. At the end of the third quarter, J-L was up 49-33.
It got even better in the third, where the Cardinals opened with a 17-2 run. Fisher hit another pair of three-pointers during that stretch and added three other buckets. At that point, J-L led by an astonishing 31 points.
To recap: From the 3:47 mark of the third quarter to the 5:17 mark of the fourth quarter, J-L went on a 27-2 run. Game over for the Panthers. Incredibly, Fisher scored 20 of those points.
“We really started to wear them down in the second half,” Huff said. “The girls kept up their intensity and started to frustrate them. One thing led to another.”
It wasn’t just Fisher and Schlicher stepping up for J-L. Unsung seniors Katelyn Fisher and Brandi Lester led the defensive charge, while senior Amanda Head was her usual solid self with eight points. Juniors Ashley Sides and Danielle Hardy also stepped off the bench to provide valuable contributions.
Junior Justine Hatfield played a strong game for Pickford, keeping the Panthers in the game through two and a half quarters. She finished with 20 points, while Kristen Cline added 12 points. The team’s top scorer, senior Jenna Ledy, was held to just nine points thanks to some air-tight defense by Fisher.
J-L — 18 13 18 23— 72
Pickford— 12 13 8 16— 49
J-L (72): Stephanie Fisher 10 0-0 24; Mary Schlicher 11 2-4 24; Amanda Head 2 4-8 8; Ashley Sides 3 0-0 6; Katelyn Fisher 2 0-0 4; Danielle Hardy 1 2-3 4; Abby Schlicher 0 2-4 2. Three-Pointers: S. Fisher 4.
PICKFORD (49): Justine Hatfield 8 4-4 20; Kristen Cline 4 2-2 10; Jenna Ledy 2 5-5 9; Callie Smith 1 3-3 5; Stevenson 1 0-0 2; Brown 0 1-2 1. Three-Pointers: None.
Johannesburg-Lewiston 59, Vanderbilt 15
(Girls District Final)
Starting with a 22-1 first quarter, the Cardinals cruised to the
Friday's Class D district title, their third in a row.
Mary Schlicher had 10 points to pace No.3-ranked J-L,
who improved to 21-2 on the season.
Kristina Drayton's seven points paced
The Cardinals advance to the St. Ignace regional Tuesday,
where they will face Pellston.
Johannesburg-Lewiston 49, St. Mary 34
The Snowbirds gave No. 3-ranked J-L all it could handle Wednesday in the Class D district semifinal at Wolverine.
St. Mary (16-5) was ahead 8-4 after the first quarter before J-L (20-2) led 15-12 at halftime. The Snowbirds cut the lead to 19-18 in the third quarter and 30-28 in the fourth quarter, but the Cardinals closed the game on a 20-6 run.
Seniors Stephanie Fisher, Amanda Head and Mary Schlicher scored all but three of the points for J-L, who advances to Friday night's championship game. The winner of that contest will battle the winner of the Pellston district in the St. Ignace regional next Tuesday.
No. 3 J-L blasts Onaway to begin 2010 tourney run
WOLVERINE -- Midway through the first quarter of Monday night’s district opener against Wolverine, the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team was stuck in neutral.
Coach Heather Huff called a timeout, and from that point on, it was smooth sailing as the No. 3-ranked Cardinals pushed past Onaway in a 74-43 victory.
After that timeout, the Cardinals outscored Onaway 34-11 the rest of the first half to build a 39-15 halftime lead. J-L (19-2) now advances to Wednesday’s semifinal against St. Mary (16-4).
“It took us awhile to get going, but once we did, we really got into a groove,” Huff said. “It went well for the first district game. The girls were focused and ready to play.”
Leading that charge was senior Stephanie Fisher, who netted a game-high 27 points, despite only playing about two and a half quarters. Fisher was dangerous all over the court, scoring plenty on her patented drives to the bucket, but also showing off long-distance range with a trio of three-pointers.
“It’s really nice to see her shooting well,” Huff said. “She’s really found her touch over the past four games. She has that soft touch going.”Back to Top
The Cardinals ran players out in waves, as a number of different players contributed. Junior Ashley Sides was one who stepped up in a big way, contributing a career-high 18 points off the bench. J-L also got solid contributions from senior Amanda Head (nine points), senior Mary Schlicher (eight points), freshman Abby Schlicher (five points) and juniors Danielle Hardy and Michelle May.
With the influx of talented players, J-L wore Onaway down through the middle of the game, crashing the boards and running up and down the court at any opportunity.
“The girls are in pretty good shape right now,” Huff said.
J-L increased its lead to 55-25 after the third quarter before cruising in the fourth.
What made this win all the more impressive was that it came against a good team. Onaway, led by 1,000-point scorer Allie Nave, finished the year at 12-9.
Nave finished out her fine career with 12 points, while Kourtni Hyde and Amanda Pomeranke each added seven points.
Huff said she thinks her team is ready for a challenge each and every night. They’ll certainly get one Wednesday when they face the Snowbirds.
“We’re ready to play,” Huff said. “If we lose, we lose. But we’re going to bring it and see what comes.”
Onaway — 6 9 10 18— 43
J-L — 16 23 16 19— 74
ONAWAY (43): Allie Nave 3 5-8 11; Kourtni Hyde 3 1-3 7; Amanda Pomeranke 3 0-0 7; Kate Chapman 1 4-10 6; Payton Lupu 3 0-2 6; Courtney McGinn 1 1-1 3; Raquel Moran 1 0-0 2. Three-Pointers: Nave; Pomeranke.
J-L (74): Stephanie Fisher 9 6-7 27; Ashley Sides 8 2-4 18; Amanda Head 4 1-4 9; Mary Schlicher 3 2-7 8; Abby Schlicher 2 0-1 5; Katelyn Fisher 1 0-0 2; Brandi Lester 1 0-0 2; Michelle May 1 0-0 2; Allison Burley 0 1-2 1. Three-Pointers: S. Fisher 3; A. Schlicher.
No. 1 Central Lake tops No. 2 J-L
Central Lake 53, Johannesburg-Lewiston 47
The host Cardinals had a five point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Jasmine Hines scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to lift No. 1-ranked Central Lake its second victory of the season against No. 2-ranked Johannesburg-Lewiston.
Hines, who scored her 2,000th career point in the third quarter, finished with 27 points despite being saddled with her fourth foul midway through the third quarter. At that time, the game was tied. When she re-entered the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game was still tied, as the Trojans weathered the most important stretch of the game.
Stephanie Fisher scored 18 points and Mary Schlicher added 12 points for the Cardinals.
Central Lake is now a near sure bet for a Ski Valley Conference title with a two-game lead with two games left. The two league rivals wouldn't meet in the state tournament until the state finals.
Girls Hoops Roundup: J-L keeps going with breezy win
BELLAIRE — It was another easy night for Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team, who defeated Bellaire 57-15 on the road Tuesday night.
The No. 2-ranked Cardinals quickly put away the Eagles, who came into the contest winning four of its last six. J-L was up 14-7 after the first quarter and 29-9 at halftime, before holding the Eagles scoreless in the third to take a 41-9 advantage.
Senior Mary Schlicher led J-L with 20 points and nine rebounds, while senior Stephanie Fisher added 13 points and seven steals. Senior Brandi Lester and junior Allison Burley had seven and six points, respectively, while senior Amanda Head and junior Danielle Hardy each pulled down six rebounds.
Bellaire fell to 6-7 overall and 5-7 in the Ski Valley Conference.
J-L — 14 15 12 16— 57
Bellaire — 7 2 0 6— 15
J-L's Fisher scores 1,000th point in front of home crowd
JOHANNESBURG -- With another win against rival St. Mary already in the balance in the fourth quarter Tuesday, not a single Johannesburg-Lewiston fan dared leave their seat.
Aided by the big electronic scoreboard on the back wall of the gym, Cardinal fans were counting down to the most exciting moment of the season.
Even though senior Stephanie Fisher needed nine fourth-quarter points to reach 1,000 for her brilliant career, determination crept into the building. With Thursday’s road game at Forest Area beckoning, J-L coach Heather Huff wanted Fisher to reach her milestone in front of her faithful home crowd.
Needing five with under a minute to go, Fisher stepped to the line and calmly hit two free throws. Then, with 10 seconds left, the Snowbirds were whistled for a two-shot foul on Fisher. An ensuing technical foul meant she would get four total foul shots.
After missing the first shot, Fisher went on to bury the next three, sending the J-L faithful into an eruption of emotion. Other than Fisher, the happiest person in the gym was her coach, Heather Huff.
“She’s not just a great player, she’s a great kid,” Huff said. “She does so many things out there to help us win. I was so happy for her to do it in front of the home crowd.”
From the day she stepped onto the J-L floor as a freshman starter, it was clear Fisher possessed the type of talent rarely seen from a girls Class D basketball
In her senior season, she has emerged as an unquestioned leader, something Huff said didn’t come easy.
“I remember when it was tough just to get her to say a word or two out on the court,” Huff said. “Now she’s very vocal and gets her teammates in the right spot. That’s the area that she has developed the most.”
Fisher probably could have scored 20 points a game last season, but because of J-L’s outstanding team, she focused more on her passing and defense.
Senior Ashlie House was the go-to scorer last season and Fisher remembers when House netted her 1,000th point, in a nearly-identical situation last year against Onaway.
“When she did that, I never thought I’d get there,” Fisher said. “It’s like a dream come true. It was amazing.”
It was fitting she reached 1K on free throws, something she has worked tirelessly on improving. She’s now the team’s most reliable foul shooter.
Fisher, a definite college player, reached her milestone in front of some college coaches Tuesday.
What’s most impressive about Fisher scoring 1,000 points is that she’s played much less than many players. Because J-L’s average margin is more than 35 points per game, many of Fisher’s points have come in games where she only played in the first half.
But when the big game happens, she’s more than ready to rise to the occasion. With J-L down in the fourth quarter in the first match up with St. Mary, Fisher took over the game and finished with a career-high 34. In two wins against the Snowbirds this season, Fisher has scored 64 points.
There are more big games down the pike for the Cardinals, who are 11-1 and ranked No. 2 in Class D. First, will be a rematch with No. 1-ranked Central Lake, Feb. 11 in Johannesburg. Then, a potential rematch with St. Mary in the Class D districts and possibly another long tournament run.
When the game is on the line, there’s no question where the ball will be going. And if the Cardinals are to make another trip to Ypsilanti, there’s no question who will lead them there.
“The goal is the state finals,” Fisher said. “I want to rise to the occasion.”
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Girls Hoops Roundup: J-L cruise to another win
JOHANNESBURG — It’s the type of game Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball fans have come to expect.
The Lady Cardinals decimated yet another opponent Wednesday — this time Inland Lakes — as they cruised to a 64-27 victory.
It could have been worse, as J-L led 62-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Senior Stephanie Fisher led J-L (7-1, 5-1 Ski Valley Conference) with 13 points and four steals, while senior Mary Schlicher had 10 points and seven rebounds. Senior Amanda Head added nine points and six rebounds.
Junior Allison Burley had a nice game with seven points and five steals, while freshman Abby Schlicher also had seven points.
Junior Michelle May had six points, while junior Ashley Sides had four points, four rebounds and three steals and senior Brandi Lester had four points and four steals.
Round 1 to Trojans: Hines' bucket lifts Central Lake past J-L
CENTRAL LAKE -- In a tiny gym in a place that few roads lead to, the top two teams in Class D battled Friday.
The victory broke a string of losses for Central Lake against J-L. The Cardinals defeated the Trojans three times last season on the way to a Ski Valley Conference championship and berth in the Class D state semifinals.
J-L girls ranked No. 1 in the state, Central Lake is No. 2
JOHANNESBURG — The Ski Valley Conference is home to the top
Petoskey, who defeated Gaylord last week, is ranked No. 6 in the Class B poll.
Class D Girls Basketball Poll
1. Johannesburg-Lewiston (3-0)
2. Central Lake (5-0)
3. Athens (6-0)
4. Auburn Hills Oakland Christian (3-2)
5. Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart (4-1)
6. Ontonagon (4-0)
6. Brimley (5-0)
8. Marine City Cardinal Mooney (1-1)
9. Lansing Christian (4-0)
10. Chassell (5-0)
10. Climax-Scotts (5-1)
10. Adrian Lenawee Christian (5-1)
Others Receiving Votes: Muskegon Catholic Central 15; Big Rapids Crossroads 11; St. Joseph Michigan Lutheran 11; Portland St. Patrick 9; Hancock 8; Deckerville 7; Frankfort 7; Gaylord St. Mary 7; Twining Arenac Eastern 7.
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Cardinals crush rival Onaway
JOHANNESBURG — That killer instinct.
This J-L team has taken a different identity than last year’s state-semifinalist group. Gone are 1,000-point scorer Ashlie House and fellow starters Nikki Ormsbee and Jessica Sewell. However, Fisher has taken over the dominant player role. Gliding to the basket with relative ease, she finished with a game-high 27 points, eight steals and six assists. In wins against St. Mary and Onaway, a pair of good teams, she has averaged 29 points.
The Robin to Fisher’s Batman, senior Mary Schlicher continues to chug along as one of the top players in the north. She scored 12 points against Onaway, while her emerging freshman sister, Abby, had 11. Senior Amanda Head rounded out a balanced scoring effort with 11 points.
To Huff, this game was about J-L proving what it can do — not to the fans or to the opposing team — but to itself.
“We’re still showing ourselves what we can do,” she said. “It was nice to prove it to ourselves.”
After Onaway’s Kourtni Hyde scored the game’s first basket, J-L exploded on a 13-0 run. Abby Schlicher had seven points in that spurt, which provided the double-digit lead that persisted through most of the rest of the game. J-L led 18-7 after the first quarter, 37-21 at halftime and 54-38 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We felt like we had to establish that we could dominate early,” Huff said.
Returning all-state guard Allie Nave scored 21 points to lead Onaway (2-3, 1-2 SVC), while Kate Chapman added 10 points.
J-L returns to action Jan. 6 against Bellaire, a game that will serve as a tune-up for what will be a monumental battle Jan. 8 at Central Lake. The Trojans are currently ranked No. 2 in the state.
Even though J-L is currently ranked No. 1, Huff is downplaying its importance.
“It’s a great compliment, but it means nothing,” she said. “All we need to do is go out and play as good as we can.”
Onaway — 7 14 17 7 — 45
J-L — 18 19 17 18 — 72
ONAWAY (45): Allie Nave 5 8-8 21; Kate Chapman 2 5-8 10; Payton Lupu 2 3-5 7; Kourtni Hyde 2 0-0 4; Nishoney Stiles 1 0-0 2; Danielle Reece 0 0-1 1. Three-Pointers: Nave 3; Chapman.
J-L (72): Stephanie Fisher 12 3-4 27; Mary Schlicher 6 0-0 12; Abby Schlicher 5 0-0 11; Amanda Head 5 1-2 11; Ashley Sides 2 1-2 5; Brandi Lester 1 0-0 3; Elisa Kwapis 1 0-0 2; Allison Burley 1 0-0 2. Three-Pointers: A. Schlicher; Lester.
Fisher scores 32 as J-L wins Rivals Rally game vs. St. Mary
Johannesburg-Lewiston 61, St. Mary 50
Stephanie Fisher scored a career-high 32 points as she led Johannesburg-Lewiston to a big victory over St. Mary in the "Rivals Rally for a Cure" game, which raised more than $15,000 for the Otsego Memorial Hospital's Oncology and Infusion Therapy Center.
The host Snowbirds came back in the fourth quarter, taking a 47-46 lead on a pair of Karli Jacob free throws. Fisher responded with a huge three-pointers and knocked down four free throws down the stretch.
Mary Schlicher added 12 points for J-L (3-0). Jessi Oehlers led St. Mary (2-1) with 13 points, while Jacob and Grace Westerman each had nine and Lauren Reppuhn had eight.
GAYLORD -- There is no rivalry around that runs deeper than that of St. Mary and Johannesburg-Lewiston.
It’s an event that has both schools excited and one that is expected to become an annual tradition. There’s already talk of having it next year at Johannesburg.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this,” said J-L coach Heather Huff. “It will be a great thing for us to put our rivalry aside and come together and do good. I know the girls are really excited about this.”
To date, the game has already raised more than $5,000 for the Oncology and Infusion Therapy Center. The players have enlisted sponsors for their jerseys, with those sponsors being able to place a name of the back of the player’s jerseys.
There are also jersey sponsorships available for $200 that will feature a jersey with name that will be hung in the gymnasium during the day. Game sponsorships ($100), roster sponsorships ($50) and
“All of the proceeds will go directly to the center,” said Christie Perdue, Marketing and Foundation Director for OMH. “We will be able to buy equipment with this money that will make an impact.”
For more information on sponsorship for the event,
contact the OMH Foundation at 731-7769.
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J-L defense shuts down Vanderbilt 12/3/09
JOHANNESBURG — The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team tightened up the defense Thursday, stopping visiting Vanderbilt 57-18 at home.
After a bit of a slow start in the first quarter, the Cardinals (2-0) led 30-8 at halftime and 51-12 after the third quarter.
“I wasn’t very happy with our first quarter, but we really picked it up in the second,” said J-L coach Heather Huff.”
Ten of J-L’s 11 players hit the scoring books in the victory. Senior Stephanie Fisher led the way with 14 points and four assists, while senior Mary Schlicher added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Abby Schlicher chipped in eight points and four assists in the victory.
Kristina Drayton led the Yellowjackets (0-2) with six points.
“We didn’t do a good job of executing our plays,” said Vanderbilt coach Amber Musall. “Joburg is a great team. I think the girls were a little intimidated by them.”
Vanderbilt returns to action Wednesday with the Northern Lakes Conference opener at home against Alba.
J-L has a crucial early-season game on the same day, when they host rival Onaway in the Ski Valley Conference opener.
“I’m excited to have a big game,” Huff said.
In 21 seconds, J-L prove it's again the team to beat 12/1/09
JOHANNESBURG — It took the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team exactly 21 seconds to prove it still is the Class D team to beat in Northern Michigan.Schlicher and Fisher, both returning starters, combined for 10 points in the opening blitz, after which the Cardinals called off the dogs a bit and began to substitute liberally. Schlicher led the way for the Cardinals with 16 points, while Fisher added 11 points, seven assists and four steals.
Quickly winning the tip in the season opener against Fairview Tuesday, J-L senior Mary Schlicher converted on a layup six seconds into the contest. Then, the Cardinals’ pressure defense forced a steal and senior Stephanie Fisher raced in for another layup 15 seconds later.
The team’s top two returner's keyed a 14-0 run in the game’s first three minutes that allowed J-L to cruise to a 65-44 victory.
“We got to work on a lot of things — things you can only simulate in game action,” said J-L coach Heather Huff. “We were very aggressive in the first quarter and took advantage of our fast breaks.”
J-L finished with a perfect regular season a year ago and advanced to the Class D state semifinals.
“They both played really well,” Huff said. “Our seniors really helped us.”
That group also included guard Brandi Lester, who finished with eight points, and Katelyn Fisher, who had six. Both were inserted into a starting role and did not disappoint. Amanda Head, who has been battling an ankle injury, did not start, but saw spot action. She finished with four points.
Freshman Abby Schlicher also got a starting nod and did a nice job, finishing with six points. Junior Danielle Hardy added six points in the victory, while juniors Ashley Sides and Allison Burley each had four.
“Everybody got a lot of playing time,” Huff said. “We played pretty well for our first game.”
The Cardinals led 20-4 after the first quarter and 37-12 at halftime. Fairview played much better in the second half, knocking down five three-pointers. They cut the lead to 46-22 after the third quarter, but never trailed by less than 19 in the second half.
Freshman Jaelynn Handrich led the Eagles with 15 points, while senior Kayla Weaver had 12 points and 15 rebounds. Weaver, one of the top returner's in the North Star League, was forced to work hard for every point she got.
Cardinals looking for an encore to the best season in school history
JOHANNESBURG - Needless to say, the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team isn't going to sneak up on anyone this season. That was never more evident when Dearborn Divine Child, a Class A program, called up J-L coach Heather Huff wanting a preseason scrimmage.
"People are calling me now instead of me calling them,"
It is the benefit of two straight trips to the Class D quarterfinals, including last year's 25-1 team that fell to Marine City Cardinal Mooney in the semifinals.
Now the hard part of following success - expectations are sky-high for the talented Cardinals. "There's a lot of pressure right now," Huff said. "Everywhere I go people are asking me if we're going to the state finals this year. Hopefully, but there are a ton of factors that go into it."
J-L graduated a good part of its heart and soul in starters Ashlie House, Nikki Ormsbee and Jessica Sewell. All three are playing college basketball this season, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of talent with the Cardinals.
Two of Northern Michigan's best players return in senior guard Stephanie Fisher and senior Mary Schlicher. Fisher will be given the keys to the offense and will likely see an increase of her 11 points per game last season. Schlicher was J-L's best player during its postseason run and averaged 13 points and an area-high nine rebounds last season.
"They are two of the best players in the area, along with (Central Lake's) Jasmine Hines," Huff said. "They will stand out this year. Their experience means they know exactly what it takes and how to handle the pressure.
The team dynamic has changed, as J-L will surely miss House's ball handling and Ormsbee's defensive intensity.
Senior forward Amanda Head also returns for her third season on the varsity. A projected key scorer and rebounder, Head will miss some early-season time after an ankle injury she suffered in practice.
Other players returning with varsity experience are senior guards Katelyn Fisher and Brandi Lester. Junior post player Ashley Sides is expected to contribute right away in the paint, while freshman guard Abby Schlicher shows extensive talent and will see playing time. Junior guard Allison Burley will get time in the back court, while junior forwards Danielle Hardy and Michelle May and senior forward Elisa Kwapis will battle for time in the post.
The Cardinals will be the frontrunner's in another four-horse race in the Ski Valley Conference. Central Lake, St. Mary and Onaway all appear like worthy challengers, but J-L was a combined 8-0 against them last season.
"We can't have injuries and we have to avoid getting over confident," Huff said. "Mary and Stephanie are the leaders, but everyone else has to pull their weight and step up."
GOOD LUCK LADY CARDINALS!
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