After reaching the 20-win mark in each of past four seasons, the Hemlock girls basketball program lifted expectations to regular dominance.
That hasn’t happened this season, but the Huskies remain a Division 3 threat after a 34-32 win Friday over Bullock Creek lifted their record to 5-6.
“I knew this year wasn’t going to be as pretty as people thought it would be based on previous years,” Hemlock coach Scott Neumeyer said. “We have a lot of new players that we’re working in, and for the first time in years we were able to play some non-conference games.
“So we scheduled some really good teams. We were going to push the girls.”
Hemlock struggled to score Friday and trailed Bullock Creek in the fourth quarter. But freshman Kylee Miller banked in a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining to give the Huskies a 33-32 lead. After a defensive stop, Chloe Watson was fouled and made a free throw with nine seconds remaining for the two-point margin.
“They dared us to shoot, and it looked like a good strategy,” Neumeyer said. “Our biggest strength is our quickness and speed, but sometimes we don’t use it well. Offensively, we practice well but in games we have a tendency to stand around.”
Watson and Miller scored 11 points each to lead Hemlock, with Watson adding six steals and five rebounds. Cassidy Peake had eight steals for the Huskies. Ella Gaffke scored 14 points to pace Bullock Creek, with Lauren Borsenik adding 10 rebounds and five points.
The Huskies have played the last four games without standout guard Regan Finkbeiner, who sprained her ankle in a 48-40 win over Ithaca.
“She landed on a girl’s foot in Ithaca, and at first I thought it was broken but x-rays came back negative,” Neumeyer said. “That makes a big difference for us. If we’re fortunate to get Regan back, that fixes a lot of problems. She’s a person who can get to the basket, and she sets the tone for us.
“The positive thing is that our new players have gotten a chance to get some playing time and learn.”
Frankenmuth 63, Freeland 22
Frankenmuth scored the first nine points of the game to take a 16-3 lead after one quarter and built it to 32-7 at halftime. Kirsten Spegel led Freeland with six points, with Kenzie Keefer grabbing 10 rebounds.
Swan Valley 71, Bridgeport 50
Swan Valley led 50-37 going into the fourth quarter and went on a 17-point run to put the game away for a TVC East win. Hannah Murphy scored 20 points with 10 rebounds, while Rachel Resio scored 16 points with seven assists. Claire Fordney followed with 14 points. Kayla Baase and Grace Gilbert added eight points each, with Gilbert grabbing nine rebounds and Baase eight.
Valley Lutheran 53, St. Louis 24
Ashlyn Martin scored 16 points with eight rebounds and five blocks as Valley Lutheran improved to 7-4 with…