Stingy defense leads Dexter girls basketball past Manchester, 47-35, in battle of unbeaten teams
In the days leading up to her team’s showdown against Manchester, Dexter forward Emma Kill knew her assignment only by the opponent’s number.
But when the teams took to the court for warmup, Kill realized that number 30 -- Manchester's McKenna Erkfritz -- was a familiar face.
“I’ve played against her in AAU a lot actually, so I recognized her,” Kill said. “Someone said ‘Oh number 30 is going to be really good.’ I saw her and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve seen her all over the place.’”
After finding out what she was up against, Kill got to work, using a strong defensive effort against Erkfritz to key her team’s team’s 47-35 win Tuesday night at home.
A game after Erkfritz dropped a school-record 37 against Napoleon, the the returning AnnArbor.com Player of the Year and Northwood commit was limited to six points, plus nine rebounds, against Dexter.
“I thought Emma Kill did a really nice job of not fouling her and letting her get to the free throw line to score points and make every shot that she had difficult,” Dexter coach Mike Bavineau said.
With the win, Dexter improves to 3-0 on the season, while Manchester falls to 4-1.
Dexter’s Makenzie Svirha led all scorers with 10 points, while Kill and forward Crystal Kedroske, who also helped defending Erkfritz, each had eight.
Sarah Thompson led Manchester with eight, followed by Jessie Manders, Taylor Manders and Jesse Coltre with seven apiece.
After recording the first points of the game on a 3-pointer, Manchester was unable to score the rest of the opening quarter, while Dexter jumped out to a 10-3 lead.
The Dexter defense made it hard for Manchester to feed the ball to the low post, and after the ball got it there Erkfritz was often swarmed.
“Our goal was to make every shot that she took difficult,” Bavineau said. “We didn’t want to give her any free, easy baskets. If she was going to get points, she was going to have to earn them through our contested hand, and we were going to try to make them as difficult as we could.”
To Manchester coach Cori Kastel, a lack of fouls early on missed shots by her star forward raised the frustration level for the team.
“Everybody’s going double-teaming, triple-teaming her, so we knew what was going to happen,” Kastel said. “When you’re not getting some of the calls and you’re getting hit underneath, it really gets you frustrated early. That’s exactly what we saw.”
The Dutch got as close as five points with five minutes until halftime, but Dexter finished the first half on an 11-3 run to take a 13-point lead into the break.
Manchester again pulled to within five midway through the third, before Dexter, which has nearly three times the enrollment as Manchester, pulled away.
“It kind of teaches us what we need to work on before we get back into our conference play,” Kastel said of the loss. “It teaches you a lesson, it points out the weaknesses, and I’d rather have them show us our weaknesses than somebody in our conference.”
Dexter, meanwhile, showed its strength as it remained unbeaten on the season.
“I think we had a good game,” Kill said. “We practiced really hard, we had a lot of anticipation coming into this game that it would be hard, and we knew that.”