Martin advances to district finals with 39-34 triumph

The Martin girls’ basketball team once again bounced back to claim a victory, this time a 39-34 decision over Byron Center Zion Christian in the Division 4 district semifinals at Lawrence.

The Lady Clippers improved their overall season record to 14-8 and they earned a rematch with Gobles in the district finals Friday evening at 7 p.m. The two teams split in their two league games earlier this season.

Makala Goddard nailed a couple of threes in the first quarter to spark the Clippers to a 17-7 lead and they were up by 14 at the half. Goddward also nailed all six of her free throw attempts.

Marybeth Ritchie dropped in 10 points, Macy Thorne has seven and Elizabeth Thorne six.

Coach Ben Schipper said, “Tonight was the tale of two halves. We came out with such great energy and desire, scoring 17 first quarter points. Sophomore Marybeth Ritchie got us going early with the first four points. It was great to get her involved early. Her newfound aggressiveness throughout the last two weeks has been critical to our team.

“Makala Goddard got her shooting stroke going early in the first quarter connecting on two threes and Macy Thorne added another. Liz Reinke provided an assertive punch inside as well putting on a nice display of scoring moves around the basket

” Defensively, we were pressuring the ball like we wanted and had many deflections from good rotations. Unfortunately in the second half, we got away from who we want to be. We didn’t take care of the ball and didn’t rotate defensively like we needed to. Our offense came to a grinding halt, but thankfully we made plays in the final minute when we needed them most.”

Schpper said sophomore Alley Bacon played a huge role as Reinke and Thorne got in significant foul trouble in the second half. Alley made the key defensive rotation when Zion drew up a back door play with 58 seconds remaining. She walled up and contested what would have been a wide open layup for the lead and Liz secured the rebound.

Goddard made two free throws to go up three. The Clippers then forced a five second call on a sideline inbounds with 13 seconds left after Torryn Harris and Macy Thorne executed a critical switch and deny on a great double screen set by Zion. Goddard hit two more free throws to seal the deal. 

“Zion always plays us so tough,” the coach said. “Their ball pressure is outstanding and they relentlessly attack the rim. They had a great game plan to handle our traps that were so successful in the game earlier this year. Congratulations to them on a terrific season and great game tonight.”

Martin now is the only team left standing among the six basketball squads in northeast Allegan County. 

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