Islanders Scratch 'Cats Twice
Story and photos by Frank Solle
Returning to action after nearly a month-long break, the Beaver Island Islanders attacked the visiting Munising Baptist Bobcats Friday night with a vengeance. The Island basketball team earned its first win of the season, besting the Bobcats 54-34 before the volleyball team took it to their guests in a straight games, 15-0 and 15-12.
Islander senior Barry McDonough summed it up well after leading the team to its first victory with 18 points. "It feels good to be on the winning side," he said following the 20-point decision. While the first quarter ended in a 6-6 draw, the Islanders doubled the Cats 16-8 over the second quarter, building a 22-14 lead at the break. the turning point of the contest came in the third quarter as the Islanders opened the period on a 12-0 run that upped their lead to 34-14.
Strong defensive play held the Bobcats scoreless until Paul Johns drained a triple for the visitors with 3:02 to play in the quarter. Johns, who had not scored less than 32 points in each of Munising's first five games, managed only 24 points against the Islanders. "I felt we our defense did a lot better tonight, " said Islander coach Mike Myers. "We did a good job doubling up their big guy." Bobcat coach Harold Johns agreed, saying, "Their defense was too much for us to handle. We weren't able to dribble up the court without turning the ball over."
Joining McDonough in double digit scoring for the Islanders were Jared Wojan with 16 points and John Albin with 10. Jimmy Gillespie added six with Keith Szczepanski and Rita Palmer each adding two. As the outcome became more apparent, Myers was able to give his reserve players some game time. Palmer, a freshman, responded with her first basket of the season. Eighth-grader Dan Runberg showed some ball-handling skills, while sophmore Justin Martin helped keep up the defensive pressure.
The win puts the Islanders at 1-4 on the season. The Bobcats drop to 1-5.
Strong Serves Set the Stage
In a night that saw ace after ace go flying over the net, the Islander volleyball team dominated the Bobcats, while giving most of the team some valuable playing time.
"It was another job well done," said a pleased coach Connie Boyle. "We were well-prepared and our older girls took the leadership."
The girls couldn't have played much better than their 15-0 opening win. Their power and consistency from the service line was simply too much for a young Munising team to handle. Typical of the game, Kerrie Gillespie served the final five points while sending four unreturned serves to the Bobcats.
"We did a very good job serving tonight," Boyle said. "Kerrie has an awesome serve and she gets in a groove and just keeps going." Mixing the starting lineup for the second game, the Islanders did find themselves trailing 7-2 before Gillespie brought them back with a four-point run that included three more aces and a strong kill by Christine McDonough.
McDonough then served up four more points with Danielle Cary adding a kill and Rachel McDonough a point-earning tip as the Islanders grabbed a 10-7 lead.
Munising closed within 10-9 and then 14-12 before Andrea Moore closed the door with a match-winning ace.
"This was a good opportunity for some different girls to start and to shine," Boyle added of the night.
The Islanders claimed a 15-7 win in a third game.
Islanders Complete a Double Sweep
A late start to the morning games due to a broken water pipe did nothing to dampen the spirits or efforts of the two Islander teams on Saturday as both the volleyball and basketball squads completed weekend sweeps of the visiting Munising Baptist Bobcats.
The volleyball team got things started in the right direction with a 15-5, 15-3 win. The wins move the netters to 4-0 in league play and 5-1 overall.
The basketball team kept the winning ways going with a strong 61-46 win, improving to an even 2-2 in Northern Lights League games and to 2-4 overall.
Next weekend marks both Homecoming, with the annual Parents Recognition night Friday, and the final home games for the season for the Islanders. Be sure to come out and support the teams as they wrap up their home schedule against Paradise.
No Stopping These Girls
While the seasoned varsity players fell behind early in game one, 5-3, the stormed back behind a 12-point service run from Rachel McDonough. "Rachel had quite a run from the service line," said coach Connie Boyle, "plus she was all over the court on defense."
Game two was knotted at 3-3 before the Islanders scored the final 12 points. Melissa Bailey smacked two big kills during the winning run. Despite the sweep, the biggest thrill of the morning came in the third game. These extra games, which give the younger girls a chance to show their talents, are played with rally scoring, meaning points are earned on every serve. Trailing by five points as the Bobcats raced towards the win, the young Islander girls put together their own rally in fighting back for an exciting 16-14 victory.
"They did a good job in coming back," a proud coach Boyle said. "It's important for the young kids to know they have to do it themselves, and that the older girls aren't going to come in and save them."
Middle Quarters Lead to Win
Once again the first quarter proved to be tightly contested as the Islanders didn't forge a lead until midway through the period when Keith Szczepanski scored on a layup following a steal. Szczepanski then made a second steal and a long pass to Barry McDonough for another easy bucket. Those two plays keyed a 12-3 run that gave the locals a 16-11 lead going into the second quarter.
McDonough finished the game with a season-high 27 points. John Albin, who was a presence on the boards over the weekend, also put up a season-high point total, netting 16 on the day.
"John is starting to show some skills," Myers said of the lanky sophomore. "We also did a better job rebounding today," the coach added.
For the second time in as many games, the big lead gave coach Myers the opportunity to see his younger players perform. Eighth-grader Eric Albin dropped in the second basket of his varsity career as he earned some valuable game experience.
Other players adding to the Islander total were Jimmy Gillespie with six points, Szczpanski and Jared Wojan each with four, and Rita Palmer with two.
"We've had to totally reconstruct from last year," Myers said of his young team. "This weekend was a confidence builder for us."
Bird's Eye View
The flight from Charlevoix to Beaver Island is beautiful most of the time and the face of Lake Michigan is constantly changing. Rachel Teague of Island Airways was gracious enough to send this photo taken on January 16th. That's not smoke, that's the warm air rising out of the water like steam. Breathtaking photo Rachel, thanks for sharing.
Rev Up Your Machines, Get Your Skis Out
The snow has finally arrived and it certainly didn't take long to hear the sound of snow machines moving about the roads and through the roads. I'm sure the cross-country skiers were moving too, but since they usually tend to be rather quiet, we didn't hear them. With snow on the roads, please, please, please drive carefully and give yourself plenty of stopping room also, let's try NOT to cut the corners so sharply especially at the top of Daddy Frank's hill. Folks have been coming up the hill and turning directly into the right lane not going fully into the intersection before turning and with these slippery roads one might not be able to avoid the cars in that right lane as they pull up to the stop sign. We'd really rather not report some accident.
In the days prior to this snow storm, the harbor was quickly being covered with ice as low temperatures made even the dogs not want to be out. Kudos go to the 5th and 6th graders who braved the elements to stand safety patrol morning and afternoon despite the wind chills in the minus degrees.
And there are of course, beautiful places in abundance thanks to the covering of white, fluffy stuff like Masta's gate into their magical hosta garden. Almost makes one think that if they were to enter it would result in an Alice like adventure.
There are island residents who head for warmer climates for the winter months missing all the delightful scenes that January, February, and March can provide. Hopefully this winter we'll find some more terrific ones like last winters' ice caves for them to enjoy via photographs. Now they are probably thinking.. "I don't miss the cold, I don't miss the shoveling, I don't miss...." but while they are sitting poolside or playing a round of golf we get to enjoy fabulous scenes like natural snow sculptures, eating icicles, sliding down Mt. Pisgah, towing, skating, etc. I wouldn't trade places for anything ... but ask me again come about March 23rd or so.
Head up to the Beaver Island Community School Tuesday evening at 7:00 for the Geography Bee. Last year our very own Patrick Cull made it to the state level. This year after eliminations ten children qualified to take part in the Bee. Five from the seventh and eighth grades and five from the fifth and sixth grades. John Fiegan will be the moderator for this mental competition. Plan on coming to the school library to support this special event.
Despite freezing temperatures, about 40 people gathered to watch the Geography Bee in the school library. John Fiegan moderated while Principal Kitty McNamara kept track of who answered correctly and teacher Donna Stambaugh was the timekeeper. Qualifying students were:
It's awfully hard to think straight with a room full of people staring at you these kids discovered. Some of the questions had the adults scratching their heads wondering what in the world the answer was. As round after round passed and students eliminated it came down to a long battle for third place between Alexandra Kuligoski, the winner, and Doug Campbell. Then it was on to the final round between Hannah Connor and Patrick Cull, and where the questions got much more difficult. After the final questions Patrick was victorious with Hannah a close second.
Congratulations to all of the students! It took a lot of studying just to make it to the Beaver Island Geography Bee. Now Patrick will have to continue his studies to make it into the state level and we're sure he can count dad and mom, Bruce and Patti Cull, to quiz him. Good luck!
New Medical Center Pictures?
Since the carpet layers just arrived on the island I've decided to give them a day or two to accomplish their task of putting down the carpets in the new medical center. I'll have pictures up in a couple days.
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