Garaway Girls Basketball

Lady Pirates off and running with a pair of quality wins

Maddie Steiner and the Lady P's are flying high early

Winning games early in a season is oftentimes key to propelling a team to greater things. Winning those games against quality opponents makes every one of those wins even more important in building a team’s confidence.

The Garaway Lady Pirates came storming out of the gate in 2017-18 and collected a pair of wins against two quality opponents, and head coach Dave Shutt is excited about the way his team played in each of those wins.

“More than anything we are just thrilled to finally get out there and play some meaningful games,” coach Shutt said.

The season-opening victory came Friday, Nov. 24 against a River View program that is perennially good. In a trip to Warsaw, Garaway got a great all-around team effort and played its best in the fourth quarter to carve out a 49-42 win.

River View came out swinging and took a 15-14 lead through one quarter, but the Lady P’s turned the tables and took a 25-24 edge into the locker room at the half. Garaway clung to that one-point edge as the two teams headed to the fourth quarter, but it would be an experienced Garaway team that pulled away late to earn the victory.

Sydney Mullet led the way for the Lady P’s with 20 points, Haley Shutt added 12 and Zoe Johnson tacked on seven with a team-high six rebounds.

“They are a talented team,” coach Shutt said of the Black Bears. “But when we really had to have it, our defense stepped up late and delivered. Hopefully we can bring that same kind of energy to our defensive effort night in and night out.”

Mackenzie Huff led River View with 17 points before going down with a knee injury late in the contest.

“She’s a terrific talent, and it was hard to see her go down with the injury because she’s a good kid who has worked hard on her game,” coach Shutt said of Huff.

Coach Shutt said just like last season, the Lady Pirates can score in a variety of ways with a number of capable scorers becoming threats on any given night. While Mullet and Haley Shutt will be the focal point much of the time, there are a half-dozen more quality scoring options that are going to make it tough to defend Garaway.

In a Saturday, Dec. 2 matchup with a talented and experienced Tusky Valley team that went to regionals last year, Garaway played a very similar game and was able to churn out a 47-38 win that saw the Lady Pirates again come up clutch down the stretch.

The Trojans pushed out to a 14-11 lead through one quarter, but a strong effort in quarter two allowed the Lady Pirates to forge a 22-18 halftime lead. The two teams played to a draw in the third period, but just as it had done against River View, Garaway hit free throws and played good defensively down the stretch.

Mullet led a balanced scoring attack with a dozen points. Haley Shutt scored 10, Maddie Steiner added eight, Johnson knocked down seven, and Kallie Regula and Chelsi Rothacher each tallied five. Haley Shutt pulled down six boards while Steiner collected five steals. Jenna Franks led the Trojans with nine points and eight rebounds while Boston McKiney ended the night with 12 points and Kierrah Stewart added 10.

“I think we are very similar to Tusky Valley in a lot of ways,” coach Shutt said. “We both have a lot of skill players back from last year. They actually jumped on us early, and we kind of had to settle in, and I thought we played very well defensively.”

That including putting the clamps on star guard Boston McKinney, who can light it up, helped pave the way to victory. Garaway’s smothering defense limited McKinney to just 5-of-14 shooting on the night as they pestered her throughout the contest.

“I thought we did a fantastic job on Boston,” coach Shutt said. “For most of the game we really did a good job of limiting the damage, although she did hit a couple of threes late.”

He added that he was pleased with the team defense overall, noting that they harassed the Trojans into 26 turnovers and had hands in the passing lanes all night long.

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