Cougar girls cannot keep up with Southland, Medford, Kee

Kenidi McCabe maneuvers around a Kee High defender as she takes the ball to the basket in last Saturday night’s game with the Hawks. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER

Mabel-Canton’s Maddy Michels breaks through Lansing Kee High defense on her way to the basket Saturday night. Michels led the team with 16 points. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER
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The Mabel-Canton girls basketball team is struggling to put the ball in the basket consistently. They ended 2018 with a 58-34 loss at Southland on Dec. 29. They started the new year with a tough road game at unbeaten Medford, falling to the Tigers 73-34 on Jan. 3 before ending the week at home on Saturday, falling to Lansing Kee 51-33.

The Cougars (4-9) have dropped six-straight games but still closed the week with a winning 3-2 record in conference play.

Lost at Southland, 58-34

The Cougars couldn’t find enough offense to keep up with the Rebels (2-9). The M-C girls hit just 24 percent of their shots from the field (13 for 54) in the loss at Adams. Payton Danielson was the only Cougar in double figures, getting 13 points on five of 11 shooting.

The Cougars shot a slightly better percentage from three-point range (26%) than on two-point shots (23%). They hit just eight of their 35 shots (16 points) from inside the arc and five of 19 shots (15 points) outside the line.

M-C couldn’t generate a lot of scoring opportunities at the free throw line, hitting three of their eight attempts.

Maddy Michels was the top Cougar on the boards, grabbing five rebounds while scoring seven points. Lexi Thorson added six points, three rebounds and two steals.

M-C had trouble getting extra opportunities at the basket, grabbing just 17 rebounds against the Rebels (only six offensive). Jordyn Newgard added three rebounds to the team total.

The Cougars did take good care of the basketball, turning it over just 13 times against the Southland defense. The Cougars had nine steals (Camryn Cox three) and seven assists (Lauren Wyffels, Michels with two each).

Lost at Medford, 73-34

To say the Cougars faced a tough test to start the new year is a serious understatement. M-C was on the road to face unbeaten Medford (9-0), a team that hadn’t lost and won its games by an average of 27 points. The only game in which the Tigers were challenged took place on Dec. 21, a four-point win over Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (48-44).

The Cougars could only muster 14 made baskets in 43 attempts (33%). They were most successful closer to the basket, making 12 of 26 attempts (46%) from two-point land. Shooting was drier outside the arc where the Cougars made just two of 17 (12%). The team only attempted four free throws but did make all four.

Danielson was once again the only Cougar in double figures, scoring 13 points while getting four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Newgard added six points; Michels and Kenidi McCabe each scored five points.

The Cougars once again had a challenge pulling down rebounds, getting 18 against the Tigers (eight offensive). Wyffels led the team with three of its six assists.

Danielson led the defense with three of their eight steals. The Cougars turned the ball over 18 times against the Tigers’ defense.

Lost to Kee, 51-33

The Cougars wrapped up the first week of 2019 with a non-conference home game against 10-win Lansing Kee (10-2) and once again scored in the 30s. The team once again couldn’t break 30% shooting, going just 12 of 41 from the field in dropping its sixth-straight loss.

The team hit nine two-point baskets in 26 attempts (35%) but had a little more trouble with the long-range shooting, draining three of 15 three-point shots (20%). The Cougars had more opportunities at the free throw line than they did in past games, getting 14 shots at the stripe but hitting just six (43%).

Michels had one of her best games to date, leading the team with 16 points on six of nine shooting (67%). Thorson added six points and Danielson, the team’s leading scorer on the season, came up with five points along with four of the Cougars' nine assists.

Despite the loss, the rebounding improved as M-C grabbed 26 rebounds against the Kee Hawks (eight offensive). Thorson led the Cougars with eight rebounds, and Danielson chipped in with seven boards. Danielson did lead the team with four of the nine assists.

Defensively, the Cougars had four steals and turned the ball over 16 times.


The Cougars get three in a row at home, starting as the News Leader went to press on Tuesday, Jan 8, against East Division leader Houston (6-5, 4-1 SEC). They’ll play the Kingsland Knights on Friday, Jan. 11, and turn around for a home game on Monday, Jan. 14th, against LeRoy-Ostrander.