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2016-17 Herald Times All-Area Girls Basketball Team & 2016-17 Dream Team

J-L Junior Varsity Roster 2016-17

J-L Varsity Roster 2016-17

2016-17 GIRLS J.V. & VARSITY BASKETBALL SCHEDULE

Date
Day
Time
H-A
Opponent
J.V.
Results
Varsity Results
Nov. 29th
Tue
6:00 PM
H
W 28-18
L 33-32
Dec. 2nd
Fri
6:00 PM
H
L 31-17
L 45-34
Dec. 7th
Wed
5:30 PM
A
L 35-20
L 61-47
Dec. 9th
Fri
6:00 PM
H
W 40-21
L 49-47
Dec. 16th
Fri
6:00 PM
H
W 37-27
W 42-36
Dec. 21st
Mon
6:00 PM
A
WON
W 47-28
Jan. 6th
Fri
6:00 PM
H
L 39-34
L 37-27
Jan. 11th
Wed
6:00 PM
A
W 35-9
L 59-47
Jan. 13th
Fri
6:00 PM
A
@ Onaway High School
L 38-31
L 58-53
Jan. 20th
Fri
6:00 PM
H
L 42-16
L 57-29
Jan. 23rd
Mon
6:00
PM
A
DNP
W 58-47
Jan. 26th
Thu
6:00 PM
A
W 33-11
W 47-41
Jan. 31st
Tue
6:00 PM
H
W 36-15
W 52-42
Feb. 2nd
Thu
6:00 PM
A
W 29-21
L 51-46
Feb. 9th
Thu
6:00 PM
A
L 37-29
L 40-32
Feb. 13th
Mon
6:00
PM
H
WON
L 37-26
Feb. 14th
Tue
6:00 PM
H
L 41-35 OT
L 48-37
Feb. 16th
Thu
6:00 PM
H
L 43-17
W 48-37
Feb. 21st
Tue
6:00
PM
A
L 24-17
L 49-29
Feb. 23rd
Thu
6:00
PM
A
W 33-18
W 48-40
Mar. 2nd
Thu
6:00
PM
7:30 PM
H

Cardinals hope for volleyball-like success in new district

DISTRICT TOURNAMENT No. 90 CLASS C Held AT
JOHANNESBURG-LEWISTON

Whittemore-Prescott vs. Lincoln Alcona (W)

Johannesburg-Lewiston 60 vs. Oscoda 53

Finally! Cardinals put it all together in district semifinal win

Mar. 3rd
Fri
7:00
PM
H
DISTRICT TOURNAMENT No. 90 CLASS C Held AT
JOHANNESBURG-LEWISTON


DISTRICT FINAL
Johannesburg-Lewiston 35 vs. Lincoln-Alcona 45
Rough 3rd quarter costs Cardinals chance at district title

GAME PHOTOS


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2016-17 Dream Team

Taylor Kroll - J-L Senior, Center 5'10"
First Team All-Ski Valley Conference and finished with 239 points and 217 rebounds.
Averaged 11.9 points and 10.9 rebounds, despite missing two games.

2016-17 Herald Times All-Area Girls Basketball Team

FIRST TEAM
Taylor Kroll

SECOND TEAM
Alicia Korff
Brooke McKenney
Claire Huber
Deanna Miller

HONORABLE MENTION
Haley McVannel

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Rough 3rd quarter costs Cardinals chance at district title
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

JOHANNESBURG – The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team had a brief spell in the third quarter where it couldn't get past Lincoln Alcona's pressure defense Friday at home.

It ultimately cost the Cardinals (8-14, 6-10 SVC) a trophy.

The Tigers outscored J-L 15-2 in the third quarter en route to edging the Cardinals 45-35 in the Class C district championship.

J-L trimmed its deficit to 34-30 with 2:43 left in the game, but Alcona relied on its foul shooting to secure the win. The Tigers finished 18 of 24 from the foul line which included them going 13 of 15 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone.

"They came out in a press in the third quarter, and we always freak out a little bit," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "We called timeout and got settled in, but it wasn't until we turned it over a few times already. I don't know why they let that bother them so many times. They got themselves together in the fourth quarter."

It was an 11-11 score at halftime. But Alcona was too much in the second half, scoring 34 points and stymying J-L's offense.

Late in the fourth, J-L used its own 1-3-1 press to get steals and generate some offense, though. That effort saw Brooke McKenney, Alicia Korff and Hannah Collins each hit a 3-pointer. In the post, Taylor Kroll scored 7 of her 11 points in the final eight minutes.

Kroll led the way with a double-double (adding 20 rebounds), while Claire Huber scored 11 points and had 12 rebounds, too.

McKenney scored five points, followed by Korff with four and Deanna Miller with one.

Haley McVannel had a team-high three assists.

The Cardinals graduate four seniors in Kroll, Huber, McVannel and Makenzie Sides, who played a huge role (five points) for them during their district semifinal win over Oscoda one night earlier.

"Taylor was a big-time presence inside for us," Huff said. "Claire was just so versatile, and she has both the inside game and outside game. When she's on, she's on.

"Haley wasn't a big scorer for me, but she's a leader out there, and she takes control. She boxed out well and rebounded for us.

"Even Makenzie has come a long way this season. She is a spark-plug type of player. She's probably 105 pounds, maybe, and she's not afraid to get in there and fight with the big girls. She has always had a good, positive attitude for us."

Finally! Cardinals put it all together in district semifinal win

• It took a fourth-quarter comeback, but the J-L finally put it all together and showed what kind of team it can really be.

Fortunately for the Cardinals, they decided to do just that during the Class C district semifinal Thursday.

Kroll finished with 19 points and 20 rebounds, Korff and Mckenney came up with timely plays late, and J-L went on to top visiting Oscoda, 60-53.

The win advanced the Cardinals to the district championship where it'll face Lincoln Alcona on Friday at home.

It all started in between the third and fourth quarters. The Cardinals trailed 39-38 and the momentum was slipping.

"We had a little timeout," Huff said. "We talked about how we can't do that (slack offensively) and start letting it slip away. They're better than that.

"They got the composure back together. ... They just had to take a breath and get their heads in the right mindset."

Korff, who scored all 10 of her points in the fourth, opened the period with a pair of baskets, including a 3-pointer off an inbounds play to give J-L a quick 5-0 run to recapture the lead.

McKenney scored in transition to give J-L a 45-43 edge with 5:50 left. Shortly after a handful of free throws, McVannel and McKenney each hit back-to-back shots to push that lead to 52-49.

With time winding down, Korff cleaned up a put-back attempt and then went to the foul line twice to extend J-L's lead once again.

"(In the fourth quarter), I was like, 'I just need to step up and start driving more, and I need to get these shots in, or otherwise, we're going to lose,' " Korff said.

"We just worked well together and got the ball down low. We just kept shooting and getting them in."

Another put-back, this one from Kroll, and a pair of McKenney free throws guaranteed J-L the victory in the final minute.

Kroll accounted for seven of J-L's points in the first quarter to ensure the Cardinals and Owls were tied 9-9 entering the second.

A Kroll put-back gave the Cardinals a 21-19 edge just before halftime, and then Miller buried a 3 to give her team a 24-20 advantage entering the locker room.

"It was fun (getting Kroll the ball in the post)," Korff said. "She was definitely aggressive and wanting the ball a lot."

The second quarter also saw heady play from Collins and Sides. Collins made a turnaround jumper that sparked a 5-0 run, while Sides knotted the score, 16-16, with a pump fake-and-go drive to the hoop. Sides also buried a 3 in transition that set up Kroll for the eventual go-ahead bucket in the period.

"We've had spurts of that throughout the season and had quarters like that where we hit the inside and outside shot," Huff said. "That was just all of us putting it all together, I was hoping, come district time, we could do that."

In the third quarter, back-to-back buckets down low from Kroll gave J-L a 35-34 lead with 1:35 left, but Oscoda scored five of the final eight points in the period to regain the lead, 39-38, despite Miller hitting a 3-pointer.

Miller finished with 11 points for the Cardinals, while McKenney added eight points. Korff and Huber each finished with seven rebounds apiece.

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Finally! Cardinals put it all together in district semifinal win
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

JOHANNESBURG – It took a fourth-quarter comeback, but the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team finally put it all together and showed what kind of team it can really be.

Fortunately for the Cardinals (8-13, 6-10 SVC), they decided to do just that during the Class C district semifinal Thursday.

Taylor Kroll finished with 19 points and 20 rebounds, Alicia Korff and Brooke Mckenney came up with timely plays late, and J-L went on to top visiting Oscoda, 60-53.

The win advanced the Cardinals to the district championship where it'll face Lincoln Alcona on Friday at home.

It all started in between the third and fourth quarters. The Cardinals trailed 39-38 and the momentum was slipping.

"We had a little timeout," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "We talked about how we can't do that (slack offensively) and start letting it slip away. They're better than that.

"They got the composure back together. ... They just had to take a breath and get their heads in the right mindset."

Korff, who scored all 10 of her points in the fourth, opened the period with a pair of baskets, including a 3-pointer off an inbounds play to give J-L a quick 5-0 run to recapture the lead.

McKenney scored in transition to give J-L a 45-43 edge with 5:50 left. Shortly after a handful of free throws, Haley McVannel and McKenney each hit back-to-back shots to push that lead to 52-49.

With time winding down, Korff cleaned up a put-back attempt and then went to the foul line twice to extend J-L's lead once again.

"(In the fourth quarter), I was like, 'I just need to step up and start driving more, and I need to get these shots in, or otherwise, we're going to lose,' " Korff said.

"We just worked well together and got the ball down low. We just kept shooting and getting them in."

Another put-back, this one from Kroll, and a pair of McKenney free throws guaranteed J-L the victory in the final minute.

Kroll accounted for seven of J-L's points in the first quarter to ensure the Cardinals and Owls were tied 9-9 entering the second.

A Kroll put-back gave the Cardinals a 21-19 edge just before halftime, and then Deanna Miller buried a 3 to give her team a 24-20 advantage entering the locker room.

"It was fun (getting Kroll the ball in the post)," Korff said. "She was definitely aggressive and wanting the ball a lot."

The second quarter also saw heady play from Hannah Collins and Makenzie Sides. Collins made a turnaround jumper that sparked a 5-0 run, while Sides knotted the score, 16-16, with a pump fake-and-go drive to the hoop. Sides also buried a 3 in transition that set up Kroll for the eventual go-ahead bucket in the period.

"We've had spurts of that throughout the season and had quarters like that where we hit the inside and outside shot," Huff said. "That was just all of us putting it all together, I was hoping, come district time, we could do that."

In the third quarter, back-to-back buckets down low from Kroll gave J-L a 35-34 lead with 1:35 left, but Oscoda scored five of the final eight points in the period to regain the lead, 39-38, despite Miller hitting a 3-pointer.

Miller finished with 11 points for the Cardinals, while McKenney added eight points.
Korff and Claire Huber each finished with seven rebounds apiece.

 

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Cardinals hope for volleyball-like success in new district
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

JOHANNESBURG – The good news is this year's crop of juniors and seniors have been in this position already this school year.

The Johannesburg-Lewiston volleyball team stumbled into the postseason with a run of ugly losses that left coach Mark Peppin speechless as to how the Cardinals couldn't put it all together.

They rebounded in the postseason, though, and won a Class C district championship and faced Charlevoix in the regional.

This winter's girls basketball team will hope for a similar outcome, as it, too, has stumbled into the playoffs.

"I want to prove who we are in these last few games and not play scared, timid or come out slow," senior Taylor Kroll said. "I want us to show that we can do what we do and put it all together."

Fortunately for the Cardinals, they'll do so in an entirely different district tournament this time around.

The past few seasons, they've played in a western tournament against goliaths Traverse City St. Francis and Glen Lake. Now J-L moves back to the eastern part of the state, and it'll host Oscoda for a semifinal matchup at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1.

"I look forward to it," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "We were in one of the toughest districts around, not that this one will be easier, but I wish we could have been in this district last year, but it is what it is. We have to come out to play now."

Kroll echoed those sentiments, knowing that the Cardinals could make another volleyball-like playoff run without state-ranked opponents in the district they're playing in this time around.

"It's different because it's not what we're used to," she said. "Before, we were like, 'Oh, we're playing T.C. St Francis. They got the tall girls, and they got those other good girls and nice people.' This district, we don't really know who is what."

A win over the Owls would advance J-L to the championship against either Whittemore-Prescott or Lincoln Alcona.

The Cardinals will rely on seniors Kroll, Claire Huber and Haley McVannel for a bulk of their scoring, while juniors Deanna Miller, Brooke McKenney and Alicia Korff will look to add offense, too.

Rounding out J-L's roster are Makenzie Sides and Hannah Collins, who will add depth when the team needs it this postseason.

"We want to go into districts with a good attitude and playing well, and hopefully, we'll be peaking," Huff said.

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Huber leads Cardinals to comeback win against Thunderbolts
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

MIO – Claire Huber, comeback kid.

The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team once again found themselves in a deep hole in the second half Thursday.

Only this time, the Cardinals stepped up and put together an incredible comeback win. Led by Huber's 23 points, they overcame an 11-point deficit to beat host Mio, 48-40.

Huber scored 15 of her points in the fourth quarter which included her burying two of her four 3-pointers she made.

"Claire had an amazing fourth quarter," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "We went on fire in the fourth quarter, put the pressure on them and got some good steals. We outscored them 24-5."

A couple of put-back attempts from Huber and those two 3s helped J-L regain the lead at the four-minute mark of the fourth.

The Cardinals (7-13, 6-10 SVC) spent the rest of the period killing time left on the clock and relying on their heady defense.

The Cardinals led 9-7 after the first quarter, but Mio made six 3s in the second to take a 29-20 advantage into halftime.

The Thunderbolts extended that to a 35-24 lead in the third.

"They got so flipping hot from the 3-point line in the second quarter," Huff said. "Four different people made 3s, and that adds up fast, especially with them outscoring us 22-11 in the quarter."

J-L's Taylor Kroll finished with a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds), while Deanna Miller and Hannah Collins had five points apiece. Alicia Korff scored three points and grabbed eight rebounds, followed by Haley McVannel with two points.

Huber was 8 of 13 shooting from the floor.

"Hannah Collins had a lot of minutes off the bench tonight and ended up with five points in the fourth," Huff said. "She got steals and handled herself really well and handled the ball to help run out the clock. She's really improving.

"Alicia played excellent defense tonight, too."

J-L now shifts its attention to the Class C district semifinal where they'll host Oscoda at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1.

"We're going to have practice tomorrow and conditioning Monday," Huff said. "We're going to work on strategy on Tuesday. Lincoln Alcona (also in the tournament) was there watching us today, so now it's time for me to go to work. We got a bunch of stuff to get done and film to watch and go through."

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Photos by Gaylord Herald Times

Rivals Rally: Cardinals show character in loss to No. 4 Snowbirds
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

GAYLORD – Tuesday night was all about showing the kind of character the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team has.

Some of the Cardinals wore the names of cancer survivors on the back of their uniforms, while others chose names of family members and friends who lost their lives to the disease.

It was the annual Rivals Rally for a Cure game against St. Mary, a matchup where the fourth-ranked Snowbirds used a huge first half to earn a 49-29 win in Monsignor Kaminski Gymnasium.

But even during the second half, the Cardinals showed character.

"Besides basketball, what they did tonight was more important than anything they did on the court," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "I told them the fact that you raised that money and played in honor of somebody is a special thing that no one can ever take away from you. That shows a lot of character to do something like that for someone you love."

The Cardinals (6-13, 6-10 SVC) got into an early 19-6 deficit after the first quarter thanks to St. Mary's transition game.

The Snowbirds opened the second on a 9-0 run and carried a 28-8 lead into halftime. That's when J-L decided to wake up.

It doubled its point total in the third, relying on two baskets in the paint from Claire Huber and Taylor Kroll, while Kroll also cashed in on a put-back attempt to make it 39-16 entering the fourth.

The Cardinals dominated the end of the final period, going on a 13-2 run to close it out while also showing a glimpse of how inspired they can play when each player contributes at the same time.

That run saw Kroll score three baskets down low, while Brooke McKenney added four points off a drive to the hoop and a basket in transition off a long pass from Kroll.

Huber also buried a 3-point to keep the run alive.

Kroll led the Cardinals with 19 points, followed by Huber with five, McKenney with four and Deanna Miller with one.

"We started playing with more intensity and more heart," Kroll said. "In the first half, we weren't going altogether, and in the second half, it was like, "Let's go! Let's play intense because we want it.' That second-half team is what we want to be."

Alex Hunter scored 13 points for St. Mary, while Averi Bebble and Olivea Jeffers chipped in 10 apiece.

The fourth-quarter scoring spree is something the Cardinals can draw off when they host Oscoda for the Class C district semifinal at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1.

"That showed a lot of composure and lot of poise to not give up and a lot of character," Huff said. "We were down by 20 at the half, and we were down by 20 now, so we didn't lose the second half, and we played them straight up.

"I said to them that's what you got to take toward districts. The team you played as in the second half, you can win a district playing like that."

Each season, the Rivals Rally helps promote cancer awareness and has raised funds for oncology services and equipment at Otsego Memorial Hospital.

For four of the Cardinals – Kroll, Huber, Haley McVannel and Makenzie Sides – the game marked their final Rivals Rally, as they are each seniors. But the game's importance won't be forgotten when they graduate.

"It's kind of weird that I'm not going to play in this game again because it's such a good cause," Kroll said. "It's so easy to raise money and help out locally."

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Kroll, Huber rebound J-L to big win over Onaway
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

The one thing Johannesburg-Lewiston coach Heather Huff has harped on during this girls basketball season is rebounding.

The Cardinals (6-12, 6-9 SVC) gave the veteran coach a chance to cool down Thursday, as they worked the boards all game to beat visiting Onaway 48-37 in a conference matchup.

Taylor Kroll led the charge with a double-double (18 points, 18 rebounds), while Claire Huber pulled down 12 rebounds as well.

"The key tonight was we controlled the boards," Huff said. "We did a really good job of controlling the pace in the first half because they (Onaway) were missing shots, and we were getting every rebound."

And J-L sure did control the pace. They led 12-4 and 21-10 after the first and second quarters, respectively.

It led 38-19 entering the fourth quarter.

In the final eight minutes, Onaway pushed for a comeback, even outscoring J-L 18-11 in the fourth, but J-L held on in the end.

"In the second half, they started hitting outside shots," Huff said.

Brooke McKenney helped with 13 points, followed by Deanna Miller with nine. Haley McVannel added six assists

Kroll shot 8 of 12 from the floor and also accounted for 10 offensive rebounds.

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Good Luck Lady Cardinals!

Turnover-riddled 4th quarter hurts Cardinals in home loss
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team has struggled to put together a solid four quarters of play at times this season.

Tuesday wasn't any different.

The Cardinals (5-12, 5-9 SVC) relinquished a two-point lead in the fourth quarter and allowed visiting Inland Lakes to storm back and beat them 48-37 in a Ski Valley matchup.

Taylor Kroll scored nine points for the Cardinals, while Deanna Miller and Alicia Korff each had eight apiece.

The team couldn't combat its guard-play woes in the final period.

"We played completely like a different team (compared to Monday's loss to Forest Area)," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "We hit our outside shots and inside shots, and we led to start every quarter.

"We just couldn't hold on in the fourth quarter. We couldn't hold on to key rebounds and had a few turnovers, and that was the difference."

Inland Lakes outscored J-L 19-6 in the final eight minutes, despite the Cardinals ending the third quarter with a 31-29 advantage.

"They put a lot of heavy pressure on our guards, and they choked, and we turned the ball over too much," Huff said.

J-L opened the game on a 10-0 run that saw Haley McVannel and Claire Huber each bury 3-pointers, while Miller made a pair of baskets.

It took an 11-7 edge into the second. The Cardinals relied on two 3s from Korff and good play down low from Kroll to lead 25-20 at halftime.

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Cardinals' comeback win falls short in sloppy SVC matchup
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

JOHANNESBURG – Sloppy play cost the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team a comeback win in Ski Valley action Monday.

The Cardinals (5-11, 5-8 SVC) stormed back to knot the score in the third quarter, but they allowed visiting Forest Area to go on a pair of long runs that resulted in the Warriors earning a 37-26 win.

The loss, which was its third straight, was frustrating for the team and left its coach with a loss of words while explaining how it happened.

"I told them we had too many turnovers, not enough rebounds, and our shots weren't falling," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "It was a bad combination. I don't know what to say."

The Cardinals trailed 13-8 at halftime, but they used a 7-2 run to open the second half and tie the score 15-15 with 5:14 left in the period.

That spree saw Taylor Kroll make a pair of baskets down low, Claire Huber sink two free throws and Brooke McKenney make a foul shot.

However, Forest Area ended the quarter on an 8-2 run itself, which included four points from McKenzie Szymchack, who finished with nine points, to entering the final frame with a 23-17 lead.

A pair of 3-pointers from Forest Area's Caitlyn Gonger ignited a 13- 3 run to open the fourth and put the Warriors ahead 33-22 with 1:27 left.

Forest Area held a 7-4 lead following the first quarter.

Gonger led the Warriors with 12 points, which included her making a trio of 3s, while Morgan Kriss added eight.

Kroll paced the Cardinals with nine points, followed by Deanna Miller with five, Huber with four and Hannah Collins with two.

The Cardinals called up a pair of JV players in LaRissa Stephens (three points) and Alyce Vermilya (two) for the game.

"I thought they played well tonight," Huff said. "I thought LaRissa played very strong on the boards, and Alyce hustled. We had some turnovers, but I could see she had as much drive as everyone else."

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GAYLORD HERALD TIMES PHOTO

Cardinals must 'put it all together' after comeback falls short vs. No. 10 Eagles
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team has two weeks left to figure out how to put it all together before the districts start.

The Cardinals (5-10, 5-7 SVC) weren't able to do that when they visited 10th-ranked Bellaire for a conference matchup Thursday.

The Eagles used an 18-point third quarter to distance themselves from the Cardinals, and J-L needed quite the comeback in the fourth. That comeback fell just short for J-L as Bellaire held on for a 40-32 win.

J-L outscored Bellaire 14-3 in the fourth, while Taylor Kroll scored eight of her 14 points in the final eight minutes. It wasn't enough.

"We needed to have yet another comeback again because we can't put four quarters together," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "They (Bellaire) couldn't miss in the first half, and everything they shot up went in.

"Taylor decided to be a beast in the fourth quarter, but she was 2 of 9 from the free-throw line. That could have been seven more for us."

The Cardinals trailed by 21 points entering the fourth quarter, but they used their full-court pressure defense to start trimming their deficit.

That saw Brooke McKenney come up with a handful of steals, one of which she took the distance for a lay up, while both Haley McVannel and Claire Huber made it to the foul line after a pair of those steals.

"We were making better passes on offense, too, and getting it into Taylor in the post," Huff said. "We got some good fast breaks."

The Eagles led 12-7 and 21-11 after the first and second quarters, respectively, and outscored J-L to make it 37-18 after the third.

"They were dominating us on the boards, and that was half our problem in the first half," Huff said. "They were more aggressive than we were. I got after them (after the third quarter).

"I told them that it was do-or-die time. I said, 'You got nothing to lose. Go after it.' I didn't know what else to tell them. I put it back on them, and they got after it for awhile. We just need to do it for a full game."

Huber finished with seven points, followed by McVannel with four, Alicia Korff with two and Makenzie Sides with one.

The Cardinals have only four games remaining, including a date against rival and fifth-ranked St. Mary in Ski Valley play Feb. 21.

They'll need to figure out how to put it all together in those final games if they want to make noise in the Class C district tournament.

"The difference in these games have been that we finally start to make sharp, hard passes in the second half," Huff said. "We just need to take care of the ball better, own it and be more aggressive for a full game. They got the skills. They just have to put it all together.

"We've worked on our shooting, rebounding and passing. We just got to put it all together now."

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Photo Courtesy of Gaylord Herald Times

Off night shooting costs Cardinals win on the road
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

A poor shooting night marred the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team's comeback attempt Thursday at Central Lake.

The Cardinals were 17 of 58 from the floor, and they fell to the Trojans 51-46 in a Ski Valley matchup, despite an inspired fourth quarter.

They trailed 43-23 entering the final period, but they outscored Central Lake 23-8 in the waning minutes. It just wasn't enough to knot the score.

"I give them credit for coming back in the fourth quarter," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "They hustled their butts off and made a valiant effort, but it was just a little bit too late."

J-L trailed only 24-19 at halftime, but Central Lake opened the second half by outscoring the Cardinals 19-4 which ultimately doomed them.

"We couldn't make a shot tonight," Huff said. "Our 3s (10 of 28) wouldn't fall, and even our shots underneath the basket wouldn't fall, especially in the third quarter. It wasn't just one person. It was just an off night."

Claire Huber led the Cardinals (5-9, 5-6 SVC) with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Deanna Miller had nine points and nine rebounds.

Brooke McKenney scored nine points, followed by Alicia Korff and Taylor Kroll, who each finished with seven. Makenzie Sides scored two.

Central Lake's Cybil Ritchie scored 15 points which included her burying a pair of 3-pointers that hurt the Cardinals in the third quarter.

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Photo Courtesy of Gaylord Herald Times

Kroll's double-double key for Cardinals in 'ugly with a capital ugly' win
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team has won three straight since losing to rival St. Mary two weeks ago.

The Cardinals (5-8, 5- SVC) will take their 52-42 win over against visiting Pellston, but it wasn't a pretty one Tuesday.

The Cardinals garnered a 12-point lead with about five minutes left and were able to stall after the Hornets sat in a 1-3-1 zone defense.

They capitalized on its half-court press to get steals and score in transition in the fourth quarter, finishing with 17 points in the period.

"It wasn't a pretty W, but it was a W, and we'll take it," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "With the win we had Thursday against Mancelona, we played well in the second half there. I told them I want to keep building on that and at times tonight, we played better, but we have to step up and play better in our next game."

Taylor Kroll finished with a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) for the Cardinals, who outscored the Hornets 26-16 in the first half.

Claire Huber added 13 points and nine rebounds, while Deanna Miller scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds.

The Cardinals played without Haley McVannel (medical), but they received seven points and four assists from Brooke McKenney and two points from Hannah Collins.

"Taylor did a good job posting up and playing strong, for the most part, and she stood out tonight," Huff said. "We did a pretty good job on the boards, but turnovers (28) killed us. It was ugly with a capital "ugly." We would do some things really well and then turn the ball over."

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Seniors inspire Cardinals to comeback win vs. Ironmen with halftime talk
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

After another letdown start Thursday, Johannesburg-Lewiston coach Heather Huff gave her girls basketball team an ultimatum at halftime.

The Cardinals could either continue losing to team they beat twice a year ago, or they could step it up and finish the game aggressively.

They chose the latter, as Claire Huber and Deanna Miller's 14 points each sparked them to a 47-41 comeback win vs. host Mancelona.

A halftime speech by J-L's four seniors inspired the comeback.

"I give all the credit to the team," Huff said. "I let them decide at halftime what their fate was going to be, and they chose to come out and play like they wanted to win. I was really proud of them for that."

The Cardinals (4-8, 4-5 SVC) erased a 27-14 halftime deficit by outscoring the Ironmen 15-5 and 18-9 in the third and fourth quarters.

Alicia Korff added nine points for J-L, followed by Taylor Kroll with eight and Haley McVannel with two.

Eileene Naniseni scored 18 points for Mancelona, while Abby Dunne scored 11 of her 16 in the first half alone.

"We just weren't playing with a lot of aggressiveness," Huff said. "In the second half, they came out and outscored them quickly."

The Cardinals host Pellston for a Ski Valley game Tuesday, Jan. 31.

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Cardinals ride defense to key win over Warriors
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

Johannesburg-Lewiston coach Heather Huff said she wanted her team to rebound from Friday's loss to rival St. Mary with a statement win.

The Cardinals (3-8, 3-5 SVC) got just that Monday at Forest Area.

Claire Huber finished with a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds), and J-L topped the Warriors 58-47 in a Ski Valley game.

The Cardinals received 13 points, nine rebounds, six steals and three assists from guard Alicia Korff, while they relied on their defense to drum up some offense for them in the second half.

Deanna Miller helped with 11 points.

"We got some good play out of the girls, and we played really good on defense, causing them to make turnovers," Huff said.

The Cardinals led 23-12 at halftime, despite struggling with their shooting.

"We did a good job defensively," Huff said. "We got more steals, but we missed a ton of baskets in the first half. In the second half, we made them better."

The Cardinals return to the hardwood for a conference game Thursday, Jan. 26 at Mancelona.

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Inspired 3rd quarter not enough for Cardinals vs. rival Snowbirds
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

JOHANNESBURG – A prolific first quarter by the St. Mary girls basketball team, highlighted by an 11-0 start, almost completely put any chances of a comeback out of reach for Johannesburg-Lewiston.

But that didn't keep the Cardinals (2-8, 2-5 SVC) from putting together a respectable second half in a 57-29 loss to their rivals Friday at home.

They specifically excelled in the third quarter where they scored 14 points, including eight in the paint and six from downtown.

"What we talked about (at halftime) is playing with hustle and doing the little things right," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "We fumbled the ball too many times (in the first half), and just those little things, knowing where our girl is on defense, playing aggressively on offense.

"(We fixed) things like missing the ball when it's coming to our hand when it's flying through, not faking it when we throw a bounce pass, doing those little things right in the second half. I thought we did better at that stuff in the second half."

Claire Huber, who finished with eight points and three steals, both opened and ended the third by burying a pair of 3-pointers. The senior tallied her other field goal by converting on a put back.

Taylor Kroll scored four of her team-high nine points in the paint, while Haley McVannel added two on free throws.

"We talked at halftime about all the different things that we need to do," McVannel said. "We really just needed to work on getting it into Taylor (in the post) and kicking it back out for those outside shots."

St. Mary limited J-L to only three points in the fourth quarter.

The Snowbirds decided the game in the first, however, by starting on an 11-0 run during the first 3:44 of action – which included all five starters making at least one basket. St. Mary's Alex Hunter scored 10 of her 22 points in the period, including burying two 3s.

J-L's Deanna Miller and Mackenzie Sides each made 3s during that stretch, but it wasn't enough to cut into St. Mary's lead.

"They (St. Mary) were hitting everything," Huff said. "We switched defenses a couple of times, and they adjusted to it and found the open shots. They weren't missing.

"A couple of times we lost our girls on defense because we couldn't get through on screens or we got double screened and didn't get through it. They did a good job of getting open."

McVannel finished with six points, three assists and two rebounds, while Brooke McKenney helped with two steals.

The Cardinals return to action Monday, Jan. 23 when they visit Forest Area for a Ski Valley game. They hope they can use the matchup as a way to build off Friday's loss and turn around their season.

"We knew we had our work cut out for us, and we knew we had to play our best game," Huff said. "I don't think (we're bummed). I think with this group of girls, they're going to come back to practice Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and get ready for the next part of the season."

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Wheels fall off late for Cardinals in SVC battle with Bulldogs
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

Johannesburg-Lewiston put together one of its best games of the season Wednesday at Inland Lakes.

Its girls basketball team just couldn't slow down the streaky Bulldogs in the second half.

Claire Huber scored 13 points, but the Cardinals dropped the Ski Valley matchup, 59-47.

"We played really well tonight," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "We played with composure, for the most part. We did a nice job on the boards and had some nice stops. We played good basketball, other than a couple of snowball effects when they went on a few little runs at the end."

The Cardinals (2-6, 2-3 SVC) led by eight points with two minutes before halftime, but the Bulldogs stormed back to knot the score 24-24 entering the locker room.

They led by as many as six points in the third quarter, but Inland Lakes put together a pair of long runs and outscored J-L 35-23 in the second half.

"We gave up a couple of easy baskets, and they made some fast breaks after we just got tired," Huff said. "We've only had one practice this week. This weather isn't cooperating, and it's affecting our conditioning."

Huff didn't use the weather as an excuse for her team's play in the second half.

"We got to do what we do because I know the other schools are in the same boat," she said. "We're not making excuses. We just have a few lapses, and that's been our story for this season. We need to put four quarters together, and we'll get the wins.

"We've been in every single game, and we'll win more ball games."

Inland Lakes exploited J-L's man-to-man defense in the third to score 18 points, including making eight field goals.

"They started getting hot and hit some points that got them up," Huff said. "We tried to go to man to get after them a bit, but they'd do pull-up jump shots right in our faces. We weren't expecting that."

Huber buried a pair of 3-pointers and was 5 of 8 from the foul line to help the Cardinals.

Alicia Korff put together another solid game, this time scoring 12 points which included an eight-point second quarter to give J-L its brief lead.

Taylor Kroll (knee), in her second game back from injury, pitched in seven points, while Haley McVannel added six and Brook McKenney had five – all in the second half. Deanna Miller scored four points.

"Claire did a nice job tonight," Huff said. "She was the spark that got us going to start the game, and she hit big baskets when we needed them and clutch free throws."

The Cardinals return to action when they visit Onaway for a conference game Friday, Jan. 13.

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Kroll scores 11 in return but Cardinals drop close game to Eagles
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

What knee injury?

Johannesburg-Lewiston senior Taylor Kroll suffered what appeared to be a severe knee injury before the holiday break and the thought was the Cardinals' girls basketball team was going to be without their leading scorer for awhile.

A recent trip to the doctors proved Kroll's injury wasn't as bad as it seemed.

She returned to the lineup Friday, leading the Cardinals with 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting, but her team lost to visiting Bellaire 37-27 in a Ski Valley game.

"My ACL is all good, and that surprised me," Kroll said. "I'm just looking at kneecap stability now.

"I don't think I was 100 percent tonight, and I wasn't running as fast as I normally do and was out of shape compared to what I was (before the injury in December). I had to stay in most of the third quarter and at the end of it, I was like, 'This is awful.' But I think I'm good now, and I know my limits."

Kroll doesn't want to rush back from the injury too vigorously with the track and field season looming in the spring. She recently signed her national letter of intent to become a thrower for Ashland University at the next level. Staying healthy will be key.

The Cardinals (2-5, 2-2 SVC) found themselves in an early deficit, trailing the Eagles 12-4 after the first quarter, but they dug themselves out in the second and third quarters, respectively, to enter the final eight minutes trailing only 24-22.

However, they could only must five points in the final period.

They trailed 18-12 at halftime.

"We just battled hard the whole time and did a good job on defense," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "They didn't have one player who really hurt us, but everybody on their team scored."

Part of the Cardinals' problem was their lack of outside scoring. They've been known to bang in a few 3-pointers in past games, but they were 0 for 3 against Bellaire and 11 of 27 from the floor as a team.

Brooke McKenney and Alicia Korff, two consistent scorers for J-L, each pitched in six points, while Claire Huber added four points, five rebounds and five steals.

McKenney tallied six steals, and Hannah Collins helped with four rebounds.

"Part of this is coming off of break and part of this was we handled Bellaire's press well most of the time, but it gave us fits in the fourth quarter," Huff said. "We turned the ball over when we needed to take care of the ball.

"It's disheartening for them because they worked so hard to come back and get back into it after break."

The Cardinals should continue to be competitive once Kroll and Huber redevelop their chemistry together in the post.

They hope that happens when they visit Inland Lakes for a conference game Wednesday, Jan. 11.

"We're definitely improving and have been a lot since the first game," Kroll said. "You can totally see how much better we're getting as a team, and we're getting better mental toughness, too.

"I feel like this year it's been as soon as things go good, something goes bad, and it's like, 'Crap! This isn't working out.' But we still have kept pushing through it, still want to win, and we've been doing that every game."

JUNIOR VARSITY

• The Cardinals couldn't pull off the comeback, despite entering the fourth quarter down by only one point Friday.

Holly Kussrow scored 11 points, but J-L fell to visiting Bellaire, 39-34.

LaRissa Stephens added 10 points, followed by Jersey Layman with nine and Alyce Vermilya with four.

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McKenney's 15 points guides Cardinals' 6-member team past Hornets
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

Outnumbered, outsized but not outdone.

The shorthanded Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team overcame missing both their post players to get past host Pellston 47-28 in a Ski Valley game Wednesday, Dec. 21.

The Cardinals (2-4, 2-1 SVC) lost Taylor Kroll (knee) for the foreseeable future two weeks ago and were without their other post player, Claire Huber, who was away because of family matters.

That left J-L with only six girls against the Hornets — all smaller guards.

So what? They still got the job done.

Brooke McKenney was 7 of 16 from the floor and scored a team-high 15 points for the Cardinals, who limited Pellston to eight points or fewer in each quarter and grabbed an 18-12 halftime lead.

Deanna Miller, starting in place of Kroll, added a career-high 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

Also for J-L, Alicia Korff had seven points and seven rebounds, Haley McVannel contributed five points, six rebounds and five assists, Mackenzie Sides helped with four points and three rebounds and Hannah Collins had two points.

Emma Thompson led Pellston with 10 points, followed by Joslyn Lalonde with seven.

J-L is off for the holiday break, but it returns to visit Forest Area for a conference game Wednesday, Jan. 4

JUNIOR VARSITY

• A 25-point second half helped J-L break open a close game and beat Pellston 37-15 in Ski Valley play Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Alyce Vermilya led the Cardinals with nine points and seven steals, while Jessie Marlatt added eight points, LaRissa Stephens chipped in seven points and Taylor Peterson grabbed eight rebounds.

J-L led only 12-8 at halftime.

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Cardinals' shooters step up to beat Trojans in Kroll's absence
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team didn't have a choice.

The Cardinals lost their leading scorer in Taylor Kroll for the foreseeable future to a knee injury in their loss to Mancelona last week.

That took away the "low" to Claire Huber's "high" in their high-low post game.

That also put all the focus on J-L's outside shooting Friday against Central Lake.

"It's definitely not as open to take shots as it was with her (Kroll) in there," Korff said. "We have to take a lot more outside shots and get open more because we don't have two big girls down low anymore."

J-L used long-range shots to overcome an 18-17 halftime deficit and outscore Central Lake 25-18 in the second half.

Brooke McKenney buried a pair of long two-pointers and a 3 to spark a 12-point third quarter for the Cardinals before she finished with 10 points and three steals.

Korff made all three of her 3-pointers in the second half, while Deanna Miller swished one of her three 3s in the fourth to help J-L grab a 10-point lead late.

"Those shots were there before, but I think they're always so intent on trying to get it into her (Kroll), they didn't believe in their shots," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "They stepped up and played their role.

"We talked about that when she was in there, if we can get it down low, they'd collapse on her, and now it's the outside's turn."

Miller started in place of Kroll and finished with the nine points from her three outside shots, while Mackenzie Sides and Haley McVannel had J-L's other two made 3-pointers. McVannel ended with five points and two assists.

The two days of school J-L missed because of snow days allowed the Cardinals to rest late in the week.

That was key to their success against the Trojans.

"We were all making 3s and our farther out shots," Korff said. "The couple of days off we had helped because we were all pretty tired.

"At practice, we worked hard and on a lot of shooting from the outside, but we only had Monday and Tuesday to practice."

Huber pulled down a team-leading six boards for a Cardinals squad that struggled to rebound against Central Lake's height in the first half.

But the Cardinals (1-4, 1-1 SVC) didn't back down. They made up for Kroll's absence.

Alicia Korff scored 13 points and knocked down three of her team's nine 3-pointers en route to a 42-36 win over the visiting Trojans. The win was J-L's first of the season.

J-L grabbed only 18 rebounds as a team.

"We needed to do a better job on the boards," Huff said. "We were there in the right spots, but we weren't coming out with the rebound, and it looked a bit like volleyball going on.

"They boxed out stronger and ripped down boards in the second half, and that made a big difference."

The Cardinals return to action when they visit Pellston for a Ski Valley game Wednesday, Dec. 21.

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GHT Photo

Cardinals' comeback falls short after losing Kroll late vs. Ironmen
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

Johannesburg-Lewiston coach Heather Huff gave her girls basketball team an inspired speech at halftime that proved to be a boon in the second half.

The Cardinals (0-4, 0-1 SVC) just ran out of time to put together a comeback.

Brooke McKenney scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but J-L lost to visiting Mancelona 49-47 in a Ski Valley game Friday.

The Cardinals trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half.

They outscored the Ironmen 31-17 in the second half after trailing by 16 points at halftime. They trimmed their deficit to 37-32 by the end of the third quarter.

"We played intimidated in the first half," Huff said. "We had a blunt discussion at halftime about what it takes to play Lady Cards' basketball.

"We came out (like) a different team in the second half."

The Cardinals relied on their 3-point shooting, as McKenney was 2 of 6 and Deanna Miller, who scored 10 points, shot 2 of 5 from long range.

Alicia Korff chipped in nine points and three steals for the Cardinals while Mackenzie Sides scored five points and Haley McVannel added two.

Hannah Collins and Claire Huber chipped in one point apiece.

"The girls stepped it up in the second half, played aggressive," Huff said. "I was proud of their second-half effort — all of them, including my bench."

The Cardinals finished the game without their leading scorer Taylor Kroll, who scored eight points but left with a knee injury in the third quarter

"I don't know how serious it is, but it doesn't look very good," Huff said."

J-L visits Pellston for a Ski Valley game Wednesday, Dec. 14.

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Cardinals' inconsistent play overshadows Kroll's double-double in loss to Ramblers
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

Finding consistency will be key for the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team as it wades deeper into the season.

Taylor Kroll recorded a double-double (19 points and 11 rebounds) and was 9 of 10 from the floor, but a sloppy third quarter that was riddled with turnovers and fouls cost the Cardinals (0-3, 0-1 Ski Valley) their first win.

Boyne City ultimately erased a one-point halftime deficit and did enough defensively in the second half to beat visiting J-L 61-46 in non-conference action Wednesday.

"They (Boyne City) had their press on and were doing the same things they started off doing in the first half," said J-L coach Heather Huff of the third quarter. "But this time we turned the ball over again and forced it inside instead of being patient and looking for a good shot, and we got outscored 17-6 in that quarter."

The Cardinals committed 24 turnovers as a team.

They fought back in the fourth quarter, though, relying on both 3-pointers and foul shooting from Brooke McKenney, Deanna Miller and Haley McVannel.

McVannel finished 5 of 7 shooting free throws for a season-high 11 points while adding six rebounds, five assists and two steals.

"We played a better fourth quarter," Huff said. "They outscored us by four points, but we played better and took care of the ball better. They (Boyne City) got hot.

"Every time we got a run going, they would make a nice shot."

The Cardinals had a rocky start to the game, too, because of turnovers.

They trailed 16-11 after the first quarter, but they used a 9-0 run to take a 22-20 lead midway through the second. They carried a 28-27 advantage into halftime.

A lot of their success came in the post with open shots from Kroll as well as Claire Huber, who totaled five points and 11 rebounds (five offensive) for the Cardinals.

"With Taylor, we pounded it into her, and she had six points really quickly," Huff said. "Claire had a couple, too. We were looking good and playing very good defense and taking care of the ball.

"We got it together and had a very nice second quarter."

J-L, which relies on four first-year varsity players, must find a way to put together a complete game to pull out its first win.

It hopes to do just that when it hosts Mancelona for a Ski Valley game Friday, Dec. 9.

"(Playing two good quarters) is a start," Huff said. "We just need to play with that consistency and maturity as we become more experienced and learn how to take care of the ball.

"But we're staying positive about it and saying we have to get better every time we go out there. We'll keep working at it."

JUNIOR VARSITY

• Boyne City limited visiting J-L to four points or fewer in three different quarters and then put away the Cardinals with a 24-point second half Wednesday.

The Ramblers went on to beat J-L, 35-20.

Holly Kussrow and Alyce Vermilya led the Cardinals with six points apiece while LaRissa Stephens added six rebounds and Jersey Layman chipped in four steals.

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Kroll's 15 points not enough as Cardinals give up comeback win to Red Devils
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

JOHANNESBURG — The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team couldn't hold onto rebounds in the fourth quarter Friday.

And that cost the Cardinals (0-2) a win.

Taylor Kroll scored 15 points, but the Cardinals allowed East Jordan to steal a 45-34 comeback win in non-conference action.

J-L led 24-23 to start the fourth quarter, but Karah Dunson sparked an 11-2 run for the Red Devils by scoring seven points.

Six of the points scored during the run came after East Jordan secured a long rebound or turnover.

The Red Devils were 8 of 8 from the foul line down the stretch.

"They got some of the rebounds that we were getting the rest of the game," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "The boards we would have had, they were getting those and turning them into fast breaks.

"We had a few turnovers where they got lay ups and easy shots, and that's the difference. They didn't miss their free throws, and we can't put them on the line like that and have a chance to win."

Solid post play from Kroll and Claire Huber helped the Cardinals overcome a three-point halftime deficit and carry a lead into the fourth.

Huber found Kroll in transition for a basket down low midway through the third, and then one possession later, Huber hit Kroll with another pass in the paint that went for two points.

The Cardinals finished the period with Kroll finding Huber under the basket with a high-low pass that Huber turned into two points.

J-L finished the period on an 8-2 run and had trailed by as many as eight points in the third.

Huff said the effort was a huge improvement from how the Cardinals played in their opener Tuesday, a 33-32 loss to Fairview, and that was especially so with the confidence Kroll and Huber had while playing in the post.

"They've come a long ways since Tuesday," Huff said. "Even from Tuesday, we saw a whole new Taylor.

"In each game, I think we'll continue to get better. I was proud of them."

Kroll believes her confidence came from the chemistry she has with Huber, who finished with eight points and three assists.

"That confidence came when Claire and I were playing together 100 percent better than we have been playing," the senior said. "Everybody was just playing better together.

"It was easy to be more comfortable because we were getting the ball down the court without turnovers. We were playing with each other, and it was nice."

Trust was another key for the duo in the post.

"Claire is one of those people where she's very trusting, and I can give her the ball, and I don't have to worry about what she is going to do with it," Kroll said. "If I get stuck, I look to her or the outside because I trust everybody (to take a smart shot or make a good pass)."

The Cardinals led East Jordan 4-3 after the first quarter thanks to a pair of buckets from Huber and Kroll down low.

East Jordan carried a 13-10 advantage into halftime, however, after it scored the first six points of the second.

Deanna Milled helped the Cardinals by scoring five points, each coming in the fourth, while Brooke McKenney added four and Haley McVannel chipped in two.

Alicia Korff led with eight rebounds, and Kroll pulled down five.

Jayden Weber helped East Jordan by scoring 11 points, followed by Dunson with 10 and Miranda Burks with nine.

The Cardinals return to the hardwood when they visit Boyne City for a non-conference game Wednesday, Dec. 7.

The team hopes to continue improving and hopefully get its first win.

"We had so much improvement from the first game to the second game," Kroll said. "I hope we can improve a lot more. I know we're a good team, and we just need to do it (keep improving)."

JUNIOR VARSITY

• Despite shutting out East Jordan in the first quarter, J-L couldn't hold on to pick up its second win Friday.

The Red Devils topped the host Cardinals, 31-17.

Alyce Vermilya scored five points for J-L, which dropped to 1-1.

Jessie Marlatt scored three points, and LaRissa Stephens had 10 rebounds.

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Cardinals miss 3 chances to beat Eagles late in opener
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

The Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team missed three opportunities to score the winning basket in the final minute Tuesday.

The Cardinals raced down the floor, and Claire Huber found Haley McVannel for a wide-open lay up that couldn't fall.

Then Huber's put-back attempt couldn't go in, followed by a final play drawn up for Huber to score down low that didn't work either.

Taylor Kroll finished with a double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds), but visiting Fairview edged the Cardinals 33-32 in non-conference play.

"We had our chances," J-L coach Heather Huff said. "They didn't fall our way."

The Cardinals (0-1) trailed Fairview 26-21 entering the fourth quarter.

They put together a comeback, even taking a two-point lead midway through the period, but a Fairview 3-pointer put the Eagles ahead late.

What's more, Kroll fouled out late in the period which cost J-L its inside offense and a few key rebounds down the stretch.

"Taylor sitting isn't good," Huff said.

"You could tell it was the first game of the season for both teams. They (Fairview) had their opportunities, too."

The other dagger for the Cardinals was their decision making in the final minutes.

They gambled on cross-court passes to move the ball. It didn't always work.

"It was that inexperience, and passing cross court was not a good look, and we should have been able to take care of the ball, and we didn't," said Huff, whose team trailed Fairview only 13-10 at halftime. "We need to pass the ball better. We have to take care of the ball."

Huber finished with 12 points and four assists for the Cardinals, who were 10 of 45 from the floor and shot 22.2 percent

McVannel added three points and seven rebounds, Hannah Collins scored one point and Brooke McKenney, who also fouled out late, finished with three steals and two points.

J-L was 11 of 22 from the foul line while Fairview was 7 of 26.

The Cardinals return to the hardwood when they host East Jordan for a non-conference game Friday, Dec. 2.

JUNIOR VARSITY

• A 12-point third quarter is what the Cardinals needed to separate from the visiting Eagles and break open a two-point game Tuesday.

Holly Kussrow scored 12 points, and J-L beat Fairview 28-18 in a non-conference opener.

LaRissa Stephens and Arielle Vermilya each scored six points while Jessie Marlatt and Jersey Layman added two apiece.

Stephens pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Cardinals (1-0) face East Jordan for a non-conference game Friday, Dec. 2.

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Cardinals looking for leadership from 3rd-year standout McVannel
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times Sports Editor

The depth and experience are gone.

All that's left is swing man Haley McVannel, who is the only Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball player with more than one year of varsity experience on this year's team.

The senior is entering her third season playing for coach Heather Huff and joins seniors Taylor Kroll and Claire Huber as the team's captains.

Only four of J-L's eight players have played on varsity.

"That's really weird, but it's kind of nice because all three of us mesh well together, especially Claire down low, and (I can) get it down to Taylor, too," McVannel said.

"I think that (my three years of experience) will help me. It helps me with just the way I play the game, and I'm used to it. Everything comes easier to you, and you know how to run the floor. I know all the plays like the back of my hand. That'll help me and help me tell people where the need to be on the floor."

McVannel will be asked to step up and be more of a scorer this year.

In the past, she's been a role player, standing out with her defense and the occasional spot-up jumper she'd make, or sometimes it'd be a transition basket while running the floor the Cardinals could rely on from her.

But the Cardinals, 18-2 a year ago, graduated both its leading scorers in Madison Showerman and Kelsey Cherwinski.

Showerman scored 452 points to lead the Ski Valley last season. She also grabbed 199 rebounds, had 71 steals and shot 51 percent from the floor, helping the Cardinals take home a conference championship.

Cherwinski was a deadly shooter from behind the 3-point line, giving J-L a consistent long-range shooting threat.

McVannel will need to help replace some of that scoring as will Huber and Kroll with their play in the post.

"We're rebuilding, but as the season progresses, we'll just get stronger as they get more experience and confidence, especially in the ball-handling area and guard play," Huff said. "Even with Claire and Taylor, Taylor has more varsity experience and playing time than Claire, but they're all just new to the varsity season.

"As the season progresses, we'll get better and better."

Joining those three are first-year players Deanna Miller, Alicia Korff, Brooke McKenney and Hannah Collins, while Makenzie Sides returns as a second-year player who helped the Cardinals hoist a Ski Valley championship trophy last year.

But almost everything will look different about this year's squad.

"We have to change our game strategy, of course," Huff said. "We're not able to run-and-gun as much anymore. We'll have to be more creative and try some different things."

The other key will be leadership.

The juniors will look to McVannel for that.

"The younger ones and juniors look up to me, and that'll give me an advantage with my experience," McVannel said.

Added Huff: "She's going to have to show leadership, and she'll do that. As far as staying positive and picking up the girls when they get frustrated, she'll have to do that. They're going to get frustrated at certain points of the season being inexperienced. Hopefully, she'll show her leadership with her actions and words and be a leader both ways. That will be a challenge for her."

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2016-17 VARSITY GIRLS BASKETBALL

xxNUMBER
NAME
GRADE
3
Brooke McKenney
11
10
Alicia Korff
11
14
Deanna Miller
11
20
Haley McVannel
12
22
Hannah Collins
11
24
Makenzie Sides
12
30
Claire Huber
12
55
Taylor Kroll
12

a
Coach:
Heather Huff

Managers:
Amanda Korff
Sydney Townsend
Morgan McVannel
Tara Madej


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2016-17 JUNIOR VARSITY GIRLS BASKETBALL

xxNUMBER
NAME
GRADE
3
Jesse Marlatt
9
4
Alyce Vermilya
9
14
Arielle Vermilya
9
20
Jersey Layman
10
24
Taylor Peterson
9
30
Rachael Galehouse
9
33
Maggie Wells
9
34
Chloe House
9
52
Holly Kussrow
9
55
LarRissa Stephens
9

a
Coach: Brett McVannel


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J-L Sporting Event Ticket Prices

Adults ~ $5.00
Students ~ $3.00
Family ~$12.00

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PAST J-L GIRLS BASKETBALL SEASONS

2015-16
2014-15

2013-14
2012-13
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Updated 4/7/17