BELLAIRE - It wasn't pretty for the Cardinals but they held tough and escaped a road conference matchup with Bellaire and won 34-32. This was the Cardinals' sixth win in a row.
It seemed that it was going to be a high-scoring affair on Wednesday night for the Johannesburg-Lewiston girls basketball team after the first quarter. The Cardinals got off to a 14-11 start in their highest-scoring quarter of the game.
Senior Kennedy Johnson and Sophomore Jayden Marlatt got things going as they have many times this season. They combined for 8 of the team's 14 points in the period. Marlatt also added 3 rebounds to lead the team in the quarter along with junior Jocelyn Tobias. Junior Gloria House was everywhere defensively as well with 2 steals.
Bellaire is a team that plays very slow and likes to set up their offense. In the first quarter, it seemed that J-L was forcing them to play a bit faster than they had wanted to. That would change in the second quarter and beyond as Bellaire slowed the game down and the scoring was limited.
J-L could only muster 4 points in the second quarter and Bellaire tied the game at 18-18 at halftime. Johnson scored one of their baskets along with Tobias. Johnson also added 4 more rebounds.
The second half remained low scoring and the tempo was set at a very slow pace with Bellaire's style and the referees calling more fouls. The Cardinals outscored Bellaire 16-14 in the second half to escape with a win.
"I was proud of the girls to win a close game," head coach Heather Huff said. "There was some low energy at times. We played through not playing well and still did enough to play hard and have the grit to win."
Johnson was the leading scorer for J-L with 13 points. She was also one of three Cardinals players with 8 rebounds. Defensively, she led the team on that side of the floor with 3 blocks.
Tobias had another good game as well as she was the only other Cardinal in double figures as she scored 10 points and had 8 rebounds. She also had 3 assists which were the most on the team.
Marlatt finished with 6 points and 8 rebounds as she had to play a lot of the game in foul trouble and didn't get into her normal groove.
The Cardinals defense held Bellaire to 25 percent shooting in the game. They didn't allow any of Bellaire's 14 three-point shots to fall and House finished with a team-high 5 steals to pace that side of the floor for J-L.
Johannesburg-Lewiston improves their record to 6-1 and advances their win streak to six in a row. The Cardinals have a tough road matchup with St. Mary on Friday as it looks like those could be the two best teams in the Ski Valley Conference.
Contact Sports Editor Andrew Fish at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter, @andrewfish_.
This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: J-L escapes with a 34-32 win over Bellaire