One word describes Morley Stanwood’s performance against the Evart Wildcats on Monday night: Efficiency.
Things looked evenly match in the early minutes, if one didn’t look up at the scoreboard, but the constant pressure from the Morley Stanwood defense, unrelenting ball movement & a diverse palate of scorers on offense had the Mohawks in charge of a substantial lead early in the game. The sneaky efficiency of their offensive and defensive attack made the gargantuan lead even more shocking when a narrow lead stretched incredibly in just a few short minutes. They never looked back.
The Mohawks took control early in the second quarter behind Brauher and junior Madison Garbow, who delivered points in waves for the home team. Brauher continuously cut through the Evart defense like a hot knife through butter in a way that managed to be equal parts grace & power and finished under or around defenders with her long reach on several finger roll buckets.
It didn’t take long for the Morley Stanwood senior standout to eclipse 1000 career points on Monday night. Despite a delayed start and abbreviated season, the Trine University commit passed the milestone just five and a half games into her final season for the Mohawks on an “and one” just before halftime.
The fateful bucket came in the waning moments of the first half when Brauher drove the right side of the lane, finished an aggressive layup and drew the foul as the ball dropped through the iron. She hit the free throw, giving her 13 at that point in the night and number 1001 for her career. The Mohawk faithful presented her a ceremonial basketball to commemorate the moment and broke into locker rooms for halftime.
Coming out after the half with a 32-8 lead, Morley Stanwood seemed determined to get their deep bench some varsity experience. Evart, for their part, seemed determined to make that varsity experience a baptism by fire.
Despite trailing big, the Wildcats began applying renewed energy in their half court defense and even went to full court pressure in an attempt to boost possessions in the third and fourth quarters. The strategy worked as much as it could and Evart forced a series of turnovers that led to fast break points at the other end. The Mohawk lead got trimmed to just under 20 with four minutes remaining before some strategic subbing helped get some experience on the court to pair with the next generation of Mohawks.
The Mohawks finished the game over Evart with a score of 49-31. Morley Stanwood was led by Brauher and Garbow with 17 & 11 points, respectively. Evart was led by Baumgardner with 15 points.
All in all, the conclusion was never in doubt and the Mohawks showed they will be a formidable squad in the CSAA runnings and beyond this year. They will face a challenging test with Big Rapids coming to town this Wednesday in what is sure to be an exiting night of basketball.