Bay City John Glenn continues to impress, follows huge upset with convincing win over Frankenmuth, 41-23
Bangor – Bay City John Glenn isn’t waiting until March to find out how good it is.
The Bobcats are throwing themselves into the fire right away against a girls’ basketball schedule that coach Cory Snider calls "murderer’s row" to detect any chinks in the armor for an experienced team that may finally be ready for a long postseason run.
John Glenn rolled past a quality Frankenmuth squad on Monday, 41-23, to improve to 3-0.
The victory that really opened some eyes came on Saturday when the Bobcats pulled off a 53-44 upset of Southfield-Lathrup, the No. 1-ranked team in State Champs Network’s preseason poll.
The Bobcats, who haven’t won a district title since 1991, backed up that victory by shutting out a Frankenmuth team with 26 district championships over the final 10:19. They will next prepare for back-to-back games against Class A Midland on Friday and Class A Detroit Renaissance on Saturday. Renaissance was ranked No. 15 in the preseason by State Champs.
After that is an encounter with Saginaw Nouvel, winner of five state championships in the past 12 seasons.
"Coming into the year, our mindset was we’d rather go 15-5 and make a deep run in the playoffs than go 20-0 and possibly not be ready for tournament time," Snider said. "We want to make sure we’re battle-tested and ready to go once that tournament rolls around. This first two weeks for us has been killer."
The Bobcats know they’ll need to be ready for the tournament right from the opening tip, because they are in the same district with Midland Bullock Creek, a state semifinalist in 2013 and 2014. Bullock Creek has eliminated John Glenn the past three seasons, but lost to Frankenmuth last week.
"We’re not going to overlook a great Bullock Creek program that’s been No. 1 the last couple years and had two final four appearances in a row," Snider said. "They’re a great program and they are supremely well-coached. When we get to that point, they will have our full attention, that’s for sure."
Four of John Glenn’s players were starters in the last two postseason matchups with Bullock Creek. The Bobcats feel they are ready to finally break their district drought.
"This is the best team we’ve had by far," said four-year starter Jenai Laporte, who has more than 1,000 career points. "Just the way we’ve been playing together for some people four years, for some three years. We have a lot of experience. We know what everyone likes to do."
Frankenmuth posed a different challenge than a pressing, trapping Southfield-Lathrup team did on Saturday with its multiple zone looks and two 6-footers in the middle in Keri Frahm and Brayene Benner. Benner picked her up second foul with 2:21 left in the first quarter, while Frahm got into foul trouble later, making the task of defending John Glenn post player Cassidy Boensch much more difficult.
The Eagles (2-1) had scored six straight points to cut John Glenn’s lead to 30-23 with 2:19 left in the third quarter, but they wouldn’t score again. Boensch took over, scoring seven during the Bobcats’ game-ending 11-0 run.
"We started pushing the ball up more," said Boensch, who scored 14 points to go with seven rebounds and four blocks. "We talked at halftime about working the ball into the post if we got the two big girls in foul trouble. If they get into foul trouble, they have to lay off a little; that makes it a lot easier."
Kalle Martinez, who is finally completely healthy after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in the summer of 2014, added 13 points for John Glenn.
"It’s a great feeling to be able to beat the No. 1 team in the state, but we’re going from there and taking every game one at a time and see how it plays out," Martinez said. "I feel 100 percent different with this team this year. If we keep playing the way we’re playing and take it one game at a time, we’re going to do great things."
Just as John Glenn is front-loading its schedule to see what it needs to work on, so is Frankenmuth.
"This is a measuring stick for us," Frankenmuth coach Tom Keller said. "We got a couple of wins earlier in the season, but we knew this would be the tough one of the three. There’s nothing to hang our heads about. We just lost to potentially one of the best teams in the state in Class B. I think we can be right up there, also. We didn’t shoot well. If we shoot like we normally shoot, that’s a different game entirely. We had plenty of looks; it’s not like we didn’t generate looks."
Frankenmuth missed its final 11 shots from the field, finishing 9-for-38. Benner had nine points and Frahm seven to lead the Eagles.