Prep girls basketball roundup: Free-throw practice pays off for Westwood against Ishpeming

ISHPEMING – All of coach Kurt Corcoran’s emphasis on free-throw shooting paid dividends for the Westwood girls basketball team on Thursday night in the Patriots’ 51-42 victory over visiting Ishpeming.

Winning its fifth game in a row, Westwood remained locked in a tie with Negaunee atop the Mid-Peninsula Conference in the loss column, improving to 5-1 in league games and 7-5 overall. Ishpeming slipped to 4-2 and 7-4.

Leading 37-30 after three quarters, the Patriots held off the Hematites despite making just one shot from the field in the fourth quarter.

That’s because Westwood sank 12 of its 15 free-throw tries, including junior guard Gabby Hebert making 5 of 5. For the game, the Pats were 20 of 29 at the line.

“Gabby had been struggling on offense lately, but she came out of the woodwork tonight,” Corcoran said. “Ishpeming got it down to a five-point game with around four minutes to go after they hit a big 3 and an and-1.

“But we stayed very disciplined on offense and made them foul us.”

The coach said he has his players shooting from the line immediately after a hard workout, simulating game conditions when teams are running up and down the court, then have to stop suddenly and collect themselves to shoot free throws.

Westwood employed a rarely used 2-3 zone defense after several players got into foul trouble, building a 16-9 lead after one quarter and keeping it for much of the rest of the game.

Hebert finished with 10 points, while senior teammates Caitlin Hewitt and Elizabeth Dauphinais-VanBuren each put up 13 points. Hewitt added three assists and three steals, while VanBuren had eight rebounds.

Ishpeming junior Jessica Spencer led all scorers with 14 points.

The Patriots won the JV game, 49-46, in overtime.


Superior Central 55, North Central 27

At Powers, Vanessa Freberg broke the Superior Central scoring record and fellow senior Teslyn Tyner poured in a career-high 30 points as the Cougars more than doubled up the Jets in a Central Upper Peninsula Conference game.

“Vanessa broke the school scoring record and Teslyn hit six 3-pointers,” SC head coach Greg Trowbridge said. “The irony is, the last time we played them, she was 0 for 10 from 3. We really struggled that night, and tonight she buried them.”

Though North Central’s zone kept Freberg and teammate Brooke Pasanen in check by holding them each under 10 points, Tyner dominated from the perimeter.

“Tyner shot it really well. Those six triples killed us,” North Central coach Tyler Swanson said. “We had to get out of our 2-3 zone and the deep threes killed any momentum we had.”

Freberg scored nine points to hike her career total to 1,257. That surpasses the mark of 1,253 formerly held by Jordan Chartier. Chartier is currently a sophomore on the Michigan Tech basketball team.

North Central, which shot 12 of 44 (26 percent) was led by Morgan Wells’ 11 points and nine rebounds.

Tyner and Freberg each had three assists and four steals and Molly Swajanen had nine rebounds for SC.

Superior Central (12-1, 9-0 CUP) hosts Menominee on Tuesday.