Manchester gets 45-35 road victory in turnover-laden game against Chelsea
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Call it a case of early season jitters, as Friday night’s matchup between the Chelsea and Manchester girls basketball teams featured numerous turnovers and missed opportunities by both sides.
In the end, the Manchester Lady Dutch knocked off the Bulldogs 45-35 on Chelsea’s home court. McKenna Erkfritz led Manchester with 15 points to go along with four rebounds.
Manchester head coach Cori Kastel said it was a big win early in the season.
“Not just for the team but for the program in general. These guys have worked hard and every year we’re trying to improve,” Kastel said. “So early on, to do this in only our second game of the season speaks volumes about the potential of the team and what we have to offer.”
The two sides combined for 31 turnovers in the first half, with Chelsea committing 20 of them in just 16 minutes. The sloppy play was surprising considering that both teams are coming off of conference championships.
“You got to realize that you got to slow it down so we can catch our breath and set up our offense,” said Manchester senior Taylor Manders. “But we should get better about that as the season goes on.”
Chelsea finished with 26 turnovers on the night, while Manchester had 18 as a team.
Chelsea head coach Todd Blomquist said his team just didn’t capitalize when they had their chances.
“We didn’t take advantage of the times when we turned them over and the opposite was true where they took advantage of the times where we turned it over,” Blomquist said.
After the Dutch built a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter, Manchester began playing keep-away on offense and forced the Bulldogs into fouling to keep the clock from running.
“Towards the end, we got to take control of the game and even though its there you got to fight off the temptation and be in control and show and that’s what we did,” Kastel said. “We got them frustrated and they had to play our game. So that was nice to see.”
Taylor Manders sparked Manchester in the first half, scoring 11 of her 12 points in the half, adding five steals and an assist. Her sister Jessie finished with four points, three rebounds and four steals.
“One of the strongest suits of our team this year is our defense and Taylor is just a competitor,” Kastel said. “She’s an in your face kind of kid and she leaves everything out on the court.”
Taylor Manders said she knew her team needed a lift early on.
“Defense is really how I usually get my points. It’s my strong suit,” Taylor Manders said. “So just putting the pressure on early on and sending them a message of what we’re about and setting the tone.”
Chelsea was led by senior Riley Singleton who had 12 points and eight rebounds on the night.
Chelsea falls to 1-1 on the season while Manchester improves to 2-0. For the Dutch, the win was the first big test of the season, one in which they have scheduled more Class A and B opponents in hopes of better preparing themselves for a deep run in the playoffs.
“We beefed up our schedule, but for good reasons. We want to be ready for the postseason. We don’t want our season to end real early,” Kastel said. “The talent is there and now it’s the chemistry and understanding their placement. That’s why we put a Chelsea, Saline and Dexter on the schedule this season.”
Matt Durr covers sports for Annarbor.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @mdurr84.