Ski Valley All Conference Players are named

Herald Times All-Area Girls Basketball Team

Girls Co-Players of the Year: Fisher, Schlicher lifted Cards to new heights

Girls Coach of the Year: Good things come in threes for Huff

Fisher named all-state by Free Press, News

J-L duo leads All-Ski Valley hoops team

Wild J-L comeback falls just short in quarterfinal loss

Final Word: A tip of the cap to an amazing run

Schlicher sisters stand out in a big way for Cardinals

Stephanie Fisher named 1st-Team All-State


Thank you Lady Cardinals from your Cardinal Fans for another great year!

Congratulations Lady Cardinals!

The Year in Photos...

J-L Lady Cardinals vs. Ontonagon ~ Quarterfinals March 2010

J-L Lady Cardinals Regional Finals vs. Pickford ~ March 2010

J-L Lady Cardinals District Basketball vs. Pellston ~ March 2010

J-L Lady Cardinals vs. Central Lake ~ February 2010

J-L Lady Cardinals vs. St. Mary's ~ Stephanie Fisher 1000 Points!

J-L Lady Cardinals vs. Vanderbilt ~ December 2009



Girls Varsity Basketball 2009-10 Schedule
Girls Basketball Roster 2009-10
Tue
12/01/09
W 65-46
STATS
Thu
12/03/09
Vanderbilt Area High School
J-L defense shuts down Vanderbilt
W 57-18
STATS
Wed
12/16/09
W 61-50
STATS
   
Tuesday, December 22nd
Cardinals crush rival Onaway
W 72-45
STATS
Wed
01/06/10
Bellaire High School
W 57-14
STATS
Fri
01/08/10
L 54-52
STATS
Mon
1/11/10
Forest Area
W 62-22
STATS
Wed
01/13/10
W 64-27
STATS
Fri
01/15/10
W 73-22
STATS
Wed
01/20/10
W 68-25
STATS
Fri
01/22/10
Pellston High School
W 63-14
STATS
Tue
01/26/10
W 65-45
STATS
Thu
01/28/10
W 62-23
STATS
Tue
02/02/10
W 57-15
STATS
Tue
02/09/10
W 69-20
STATS
Thu
02/11/10
Central Lake High School
No. 1 Central Lake tops No. 2 J-L
L 53-47
STATS
Tue
02/16/10
W 79-26
STATS
Thu
02/18/10
Mancelona High School
W 69-25
STATS
Tue
02/23/10
W 81-23
STATS
Thu
02/25/10
W 68-26
STATS
Mon
03/01/10
J-L vs. Onaway @ Wolverine Districts
No. 3 J-L blasts Onaway to begin 2010 tourney run
W 74-43
STATS
Wed
03/03/10
J-L vs. St. Mary's @ Wolverine
Johannesburg-Lewiston 49, St. Mary 34
W 49-34
STATS
Fri
03/05/10
J-L vs. Vanderbilt @ Wolverine
DISTRICT FINALS
W 59-15
STATS
Tues
3/9/10
Regional Game at St. Ignace vs. Pellston
W 54-24
STATS
Thu
3/11/10
W 72-49
STATS
Tues
3/16/10
Quarterfinals vs. Ontonagon at Sault Ste. Marie
Wild J-L comeback falls just short in quarterfinal loss
L 47-50
STATS


Click to see directions to opponent school facilities including this event.

** All schedules subject to change without advance notice. **

J-L Lady Cardinals
Basketball Team Roster 2009-10

Number
Name
Grade
#3
Allison Burley
Junior
#10
Brandi Lester
Senior
#12
Abbie Schlicher
Freshman
#14
Katelyn Fisher
Senior
#20
Stephanie Fisher
Senior
#24
Mary Schlicher
Senior
#32
Amanda Head
Senior
#40
Danielle Hardy
Junior
#50
Ashley Sides
Senior
#52
Michelle May
Junior
#54
Elisa Kwapis
Senior

Coach Heather Huff
Assistant Coach Jessica Crane


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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:
Stephanie Fisher & Mary Schlicher

Second Team All Conference:
Amanda Head

Honorable Mention:
Katelyn Fisher

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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.

THIRD TEAM

KATELYN FISHER • J-L • Senior

Awards: Honorable Mention All-Ski Valley Conference (Senior)

AMANDA HEAD • J-L • Senior

Key Stats: 7.8 points; 6.0 rebounds; All-Ski Valley HM

ALL-HUSTLE TEAM

ABBY SCHLICHER, J-L

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Girls Co-Players of the Year: Fisher, Schlicher lifted Cards to new heights
Gaylord Herald Times By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor

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.

“I kind of felt like one,” Schlicher said, with a laugh. “Especially when we were walking onto the bus before or after a game. People talk to us like they’ve known us forever and I’m like ‘I don’t know you.’”

That’s what happens when you are two of the best players in the history of J-L, on one of the best teams in the history of J-L, a school whose fans relished every moment of the season.

Fisher and Schlicher’s worth to the program won’t fully be realized until years down the road. At J-L games, you can often find many young girls staring at the court, just hoping that one day they can play like Stephanie or Mary.

“I have girls in middle school fighting over who gets to wear Stephanie and Mary’s number,” said J-L coach Heather Huff. “They are pretty popular around here.”

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.

Huff said the beauty of the duo was their ability to lift one another’s play.

“The best part was that if one was off their game just a little bit, the other would pick it up,” she said. “It was always nice to know that when the game was close, they would get it going.”

Fisher, the daughter of Marty and Evelyn Fisher, has gotten steadily better during each of her four seasons starting on varsity. Her production picked up — as a senior she averaged 20.1 points, 4.5 steals, 3.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists — but her emergence as a leader was perhaps more impressive.

This season, she was named to the Associated Press, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News’ all-state teams. Perhaps her biggest accomplishment was scoring more than 1,000 career points, something she did against rival St. Mary. She finished with 1,224 total.

“She definitely became more vocal,” Schlicher said. “Before, she never talked, but now she talks a lot. She’s not just a great player, she’s a great person. She works really hard to be successful.”

Schlicher, the daughter of Walt and Lori Schlicher, didn’t play on varsity as a freshman or even during most of her sophomore year, but when she was called up, she was immediately effective. The low-post wizard emerged as the team’s most consistent player and leading scorer during the the past two postseason runs, including last year’s jaunt to the Class D state semifinals.

This season, Schlicher averaged 15.4 points and an area-high 10.1 rebounds. She saved her best game for last, scoring a career-high 30 points in a three-point loss to Ontonagon in the Class D quarterfinal game.

“She has a great personality — she’s fun to be around,” said Fisher, when asked to describe her co-star. “If I did have a bad game, she’d bring us back into the game.”

Huff said she was amazed by the work ethic of both girls. Schlicher insisted the team condition hard throughout the season so they could be in top shape in the postseason. And when Huff called an occasional Saturday practice, Fisher did the opposite of complain.

“She was asking if we could practice on Sunday, too,” Huff said. “They just love basketball.”

It’s that love of the game that will take each to the next level next season. Neither has firmed up their college plans — Fisher would like to play at Lake Superior State or another Division II school and Schlicher would like to play at Alma or Hope — but it’s certain both will make a mark wherever they end up.

Who wouldn’t want to have a proven winner in their program? Winning has motivated the pair from a young age. In middle school, J-L lost to rival St. Mary by 50 points and the girls vowed to never let that happen again.

“I thought about it all the time and it motivated me,” Fisher said.

Above all the stats, above all the accolades, Fisher and Schlicher will be remembered for one thing — being a part of the best string of teams J-L has ever seen.

“We just wanted to go out there and play to win,” Schlicher said. “Winning never got old. It was too much fun. I never really had that much experience with non-winning.”

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Girls Coach of the Year: Good things come in threes for Huff
Gaylord Herald Times

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 Year.

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.

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.
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.

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J-L duo leads All-Ski Valley hoops team
Gaylord Herald Times

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.

Joining Fisher and Schlicher on the First Team was St. Mary senior Grace Westerman, as well as Jasmine Hines and Heidi Hicks of Central Lake and Allie Nave of Onaway.

Making the Second Team was J-L senior Amanda Head and St. Mary sophomore Karli Jacob, along with Mary Walsh and Sherri Smith of Bellaire, Tasha Crouse of Central Lake and Marissa Ingersoll of Forest Area.

J-L senior Katelyn Fisher and St. Mary senior Lauren Reppuhn were Honorable Mention picks, along with Sheila Crouse of Central Lake, Payton Lupu and Kate Chapman of Onaway, Laura Andersen of Bellaire, Kristi Lewis and Katie Dzedzie of Pellston, Kassie Magee of Forest Area, Kayla Adkins and Andrea Luton of Mancelona and Catelynn Brendley and Ashley Goodman of Inland Lakes.

Stephanie Fisher, a Class D all-state player, averaged 17.0 points, 4.5 steals, 3.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists for the Cardinals, who advanced to the Class D quarterfinals for the third straight year. Her equally-talented cohort, Schlicher, averaged 15.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

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.

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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 Dery of Twining Arenac Eastern, Heather Lantis of Hillsdale Academy, Janele Linna of Ontonagon, Lena Oliver of Battle Creek St. Philip and Stacie Ross of Hudsonville Freedom Academy. Arenac Eastern’s Butch Beckham was named Coach of the Year.

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.

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Schlicher sisters stand out in a big way for Cardinals
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor

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.

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Final Word: A tip of the cap to an amazing run
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor Gaylord Herald Times

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.

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Wild J-L comeback falls just short in quarterfinal loss
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor

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.

“Abby did a great job of creating turnovers and Mary really took advantage of it,” Huff said. “It really was a great comeback.”

In the end, Ontonagon all-stater Janele Linna stepped up enough to allow her team to win. Linna hit 6-of-8 free throws and added a two-point bucket in the final two minutes, as the Gladiators (24-2) were able to survive. She led the way for Ontonagon with 16 points.

While free throw shooting helped the Gladiators, it was probably the reason J-L lost. The Cardinals hit just 4-of-21 from the charity stripe. Coupled with the team no hitting a single three-point attempt and the Cardinals had to dig themselves out of a deep hole.

“It’s not like we’re a 90 percent foul shooting team, but we’ve been consistently around 55 or 60 percent,” Huff said. “They just wouldn’t go in tonight. Sometimes, the stupid ball doesn’t go into the stupid basket.”

Ontonagon also as good a job as anyone guarding J-L senior all-stater Stephanie Fisher. Fisher was limited to just one field goal and had five points as the Gladiators came up with a solid game plan to slow her.

Both teams struggled in the first quarter as each squad’s up-tempo press forced an influx of turnovers. Mary Schlicher scored back-to-back buckets to close out the first quarter, as J-L took a 12-11 lead.

With Ontonagon up two with under three minutes remaining, Fisher took the ball and completed a brilliant full-court pass to senior Amanda Head, who converted for a lay-up to tie the game.

The Gladiators, however, closed out the half on a 6-0 run, as center Lauren Siren netted a pair of inside baskets. Ontonagon had a 25-19 halftime advantage.

The three-point shooting of Sara Hirvela was key in the Gladiators building a 36-21 lead in the third quarter as Hirvela knocked in a pair of treys to key their 9-2 run.

Fisher scored her first two points of the game and Mary Schlicher had another two, but a pair of free throws from Linna put the Gladiators ahead 38-25 after the third.

The game marked the final contest for all five of J-L’s starters — Stephanie Fisher, Mary Schlicher, Head, Katelyn Fisher and Brandi Lester. It has been quite a run for this group, which has won three-straight district and regional titles.

“I am so proud of them,” Huff said. “I just wanted to win this one so bad, not for me, but for them. These girls have worked so hard to get where they are.”
Linna led the Gladiators with 16 points, while Hirvela had 13 points and Nicole Pestka added 10 points. Ontonagon advanced to the semifinals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, where they faced Waterford Our Lady Thursday night.

Ontonagon —        11    14    13    12 — 50

J-L —            12    7    6    22 — 47

ONTONAGON (50): Janele Linna 3 10-17 16; Sara Hirvela 5 0-0 13; Nicole Pestka 5 0-5 10; Lauren Siren 4 0-0 8; Taylor Cleary 1 0-0 2; Olivia Soumis 0 1-2 1. Three-Pointers: Hirvela 3.

J-L (47): Mary Schlicher 15 0-3 30; Stephanie Fisher 1 3-9 5; Abby Schlicher 2 0-2 4; Amanda Head 1 1-2 3; Allison Burley 1 1-2 3; Brandi Lester 1 0-2 2. Three-Pointers: None.

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Final Word: Lady Cards earn style points with up-tempo attack
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor

“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.”

Huff’s love for hardwood havoc developed when she played under legendary J-L coach Rick Guild. He believed that an up-tempo style was the way to win high school games and he proved that in a big way.

Huff was an all-state guard on the best team in school history, that is until she started coaching herself. When she went to Alma College to play basketball, the Scots also used a pressing style and she continued to learn more and more about the style.

After graduating college, she returned home to teach at J-L. When she got there, the Cardinals were a slow-down, half-court type team. The first thing she changed when taking over the program eight years ago was the style.

It was not an immediate success. Huff learned quickly that any offense is only as good as the personnel that runs it and many teams simply outgunned the Cardinals in those years.

“It was really a growing process,” she said. “It was a lot of trial and error. At times, I was too stubborn and kept pressing even though I didn’t have the kids who could do it.”

But over the past five years, she’s found the perfect players to run an up-tempo style — athletic players with strong ball handling skills who are blessed with the natural ability to run. Players like Ashlie House, Nikki Ormsbee, Stephanie Fisher and Mary Schlicher have blossomed under the hectic style.

It’s all translated into a 70-7 record over the past years and too many blowouts to count. Besides the two losses to Central Lake this season, only St. Mary has come within 20 points of the Cardinals.

Yes, Lady Cardinal basketball is a lot of fun to watch, but it often leads to second halves when Huff pulls off the reigns and the starters never see the floor.

“It gets frustrating sometimes because a lot of times our starters only play half the game,” Huff said. “We just want to play basketball, but I also understand that the shoe fits on the other foot. I’ve been there before.”

Now that its in the quarterfinals, J-L likely won’t be a part of too many 40-point blowouts.         So, how do you stop a running train that comes at you in hard-charging waves? Either have a 6-foot-3 nationally-ranked recruit like Central Lake does, or pray. Actually, strong guard play is the key to slowing a pressuring attack. If your guards can navigate J-L’s full-court press or half-court trap, then you have a chance.

St. Mary was able to do that for a half during last week’s district battle. But then, another element of J-L’s devastating attack came into play — they got tired.

J-L’s guards know how much frustration they can cause on opposing players. In last year’s quarterfinal game, Muskegon Catholic Central marched in with an all-state point guard. At the end of the day, it was her poorest performance of the season.

Thursday, against Pickford, Fisher was so amped up about stopping Pickford’s Jenna Ledy that she told Huff before the game she’d hold her to five points. She had nine, but just two came while Fisher was guarding her. The majority of the rest came in the fourth quarter when Fisher was already out of the game.

So, the J-L players are athletic, fast, experienced AND determined. It’s a deadly combination — one that has the Cardinals rockin’ and rollin’.

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Back-to-back-to-back:
J-L blasts Pickford to win 3rd-straight district title
By Jeremy Speer, HT Sports Editor

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.

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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 Vanderbilt (12-11).

The Cardinals advance to the St. Ignace regional Tuesday,
where they will face Pellston.

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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
Gaylord Herald Times

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.”

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.
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No. 1 Central Lake tops No. 2 J-L
Gaylord Herald Times

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.

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Girls Hoops Roundup: J-L keeps going with breezy win
Gaylord Herald Times

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

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Congratulations Stephanie Fisher!

J-L's Fisher scores 1,000th point in front of home crowd
Gaylord Herald Times ~ Jeremy Speer Sports Editor

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 player. An impressive slasher and passer with incredible ball handling skills, she has developed into one of the state’s top players for one of the state’s top teams.

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
Gaylord Herald Times

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.

The No. 3-ranked Cardinals return to action Wednesday at Onaway.

Inland Lakes —      4    8    2    13 — 27

J-L —     27     19     16   2 — 64

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Round 1 to Trojans: Hines' bucket lifts Central Lake past J-L
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor

CENTRAL LAKE -- In a tiny gym in a place that few roads lead to, the top two teams in Class D battled Friday.

There wasn’t a person at Central Lake High School who didn’t leave the battle between No. 1-ranked Central Lake and No. 2 Johannesburg-Lewiston thinking they hadn’t got their money’s worth.

In the end, it was Trojan star Jasmine Hines who would not be denied, as her three-point play gave the home team a resounding 54-52 victory.

With nine seconds left in the game and J-L up 52-51, Hines took an inbound pass from Heidi Hicks and powered it up over a pair of Cardinal defenders while being fouled. She canned the free throw before J-L could not get a shot up before the final buzzer sounded.

“It was really important,” said Hines, who finished with a game-high 37 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. “I was nervous, but I just went up strong and realized whatever happens, happens. It feels great to come out on top.”

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.

Missing three starters from that team last year, J-L coach Heather Huff said inexperience played a part in Friday’s loss.

“We only have two players who have been in a close-game situation,” she said. “It will be a good learning experience for us if we can take something from it. All that we can hope is that we can do better next time.”

J-L (6-1, 3-1 Ski Valley) controlled the game for most of the first half, but Hines took over in the third quarter, scoring an eye-popping 16 points to give her team a 42-39 lead.

The resilient Cardinals answered in the third quarter, as back-to-back baskets by seniors Brandi Lester and Mary Schlicher pushed J-L ahead 50-46.

The Trojans (8-0, 6-0 SVC) would re-take a 51-50 lead behind Hines, but a key bucket by J-L freshman Abby Schlicher put the Cardinals back ahead. Abby Schlicher then came up with a huge steal, leading to a one-and-one opportunity for J-L. The front end was missed, setting up Hines’ game-winning play.

“We expected a great ball game like this,” said Central Lake coach Al Becker. “They  came to play and we knew they would. We started slow, but we fought back really well.”

J-L came out of the gates fast, relying on a balanced effort to take an 18-9 lead after the first quarter. Five different Cardinals scored in that frame — Stephanie Fisher, Katelyn Fisher, Ashley Sides, Mary Schlicher and Lester.

The Cardinals pushed the lead to as many as 10 points when Stephanie Fisher picked off Hines and cruised in for a layup to put them ahead 24-14. A late Central Lake run closed the deficit to 25-22 at halftime.

A key factor in the game was Central Lake’s ability to get the Cardinals into foul trouble. Both Sides and senior Amanda Head fouled out, while Mary Schlicher was saddled for a good portion of the game with severe foul trouble. When fouls were whistled on Central Lake, the Cardinals struggled to take advantage. They were just 7-of-16 from the foul line.

For the Cardinals, Stephanie Fisher led the way with 15 points, while Mary Schlicher had nine points and Head had seven. Schlicher led the way in rebounds with eight, while Fisher added eight steals and four assists.

Junior Allison Burley provided an excellent spark off the bench, including hitting a layup at the third-quarter buzzer. Katelyn Fisher was also credited with playing strong defense.

Tasha Crouse added 10 points in the victory for the Trojans, who travel to Johannesburg Feb. 19 for what will be another huge game.

J-L —    18    7    14    13 — 52

Central Lake —    9    13    20    12 — 54

J-L (52): Stephanie Fisher 7 1-1 15; Mary Schlicher 4 1-3 9; Amanda Head 2 5-10 9; Brandi Lester 2 0-0 4; Ashley Sides 2 1-2 5; Abby Schlicher 2 0-0 4; Katelyn Fisher 1 0-0 2; Allison Burley 1 0-0 2. Three-Pointers: None.

CENTRAL LAKE (54); Jasmine Hines 11 15-23 37; Tasha Crouse 3 3-5 10; Heidi Hicks 1 1-2 3; Sheila Crouse 0 3-5 3; Jennifer Corbett 0 1-2 1. Three-Pointers: T. Crouse.

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J-L girls ranked No. 1 in the state, Central Lake is No. 2
Gaylord Herald Times 12/26/09

JOHANNESBURG — The Ski Valley Conference is home to the top
two Class D teams in the state of Michigan.

Johannesburg-Lewiston, who advanced to the Class D semifinals last season, emerged as the state’s No. 1 ranked team as the Associated Press released its first poll of the season.

Rival Central Lake, whom the Cardinals defeated three times last season, is ranked No. 2.

Following the two Ski Valley teams is Athens, Auburn Hills Oakland Christina, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, Ontonagon, Brimley, Marine City Cardinal Mooney, Lansing Christian, Chassell, Climax-Scotts and Adrian Lenawee Christian.

St. Mary, who has lost to both J-L and Central Lake in the early season, received Honorable Mention honors in the poll.

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
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor * Gaylord Herald Times

JOHANNESBURG — That killer instinct.

Sometimes undefined, it’s what separates great teams from good ones. The No. 1-ranked Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team showed it had it in a 72-45 victory against rival Onaway Tuesday.

Against the Cardinals’ second-string, Onaway went on a 17-5 run to close out the third quarter, cutting the J-L lead to 16 points. Some inside the J-L gymnasium were starting to think that stranger things have happened.

But then, coach Heather Huff re-inserted her big guns in the fourth quarter. Immediately, senior star Stephanie Fisher jumped for a steal, raced down court and wiggled between a pair of Onaway defenders. That play started a 10-0 run that put the game on ice for the host Cardinals. The killer instinct came through again.

“You wait and wait for a team to have it,” Huff said. “This group has that instinct that is hard to teach.”

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.

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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.


'Rivals Rally' to fight cancer together
By Jeremy Speer • Sports Editor Gaylord Herald Times

Click here for Cure Sponsor Form

GAYLORD -- There is no rivalry around that runs deeper than that of St. Mary and Johannesburg-Lewiston.

On Dec. 16, the Snowbirds and Cardinals will use that rivalry to benefit the community in a big way in the form of the Rivals Rally for a Cure girls basketball game.

The teams will don pink uniforms and play with a pink ball as the community is expected to pack Gaylord’s Kaminski Gymnasium to help support the Oncology and Infusion Therapy Center at Otsego Memorial Hospital (OMH).

“Everyone is touched by cancer and it will be an emotional evening,” said St. Mary girls basketball coach Dale Jacob. “It will be two good teams coming together to help fight this disease.”

In the junior varsity/varsity doubleheader, which begins at 6 p.m., the St. Mary girls will wear pink jerseys with black lettering, while the J-L girls will wear black jerseys with pink lettering.

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 T-shirts ($10) are also available.

“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.

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In 21 seconds, J-L prove it's again the team to beat 12/1/09
Jeremy Speer ~ Gaylord Herald Times

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.

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.
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.

“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.

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Cardinals looking for an encore to the best season in school history
By Jeremy Speer Sports Editor ~ Gaylord Herald Times

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,"
coach Heather Huff joked.

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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J-L Sporting Event Ticket Prices

Adults ~ $4.00
Students ~ $3.00
Family ~$10.00

Family Season Pass $150.00
(Includes all Home Games ~ Excludes Tournaments)

Updated 5/2/10
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