IRONWOOD - Behind a big first half, the Gogebic Community College Lady Samsons picked up their first win of the season, defeating Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College 73-57 on Tuesday night.
"It's real exciting coming after the tournament this weekend," Lady Samson Brittni Kisul said. "It's nice to win and you have to start somewhere, so why not have it be your first home game?"
Gogebic coach Mark Movrich said it "definitely" felt good to get that first win, but he and the team are still going through a period of adjustment.
"(Jim) Partanen told me the first one is the hardest," Movrich said. "We did some good things team-wise and in stretches, everybody stepped up and did some things well. But we played harder this weekend because the other teams really pushed us. We have to play with the same effort no matter the opponent.
"Right now, I'm adjusting to the college game and the girls are adjusting to me. It will be awhile before we hit our stride."
Fond du Lac coach Laura Slyvester said it was the Lady Thunder's first game, so she was just happy to start playing. She also thought GCC had the makings of a good team.
"I'm happy with the way we played," Slyvester said. "We'll get stronger as we go and have only two returning starters. GCC looked good. They have some girls who can make things happen and they are aggressive. Gogebic plays tough defense. They get up on you with ball pressure. Inside, we were not able to score, so we had to shoot from the outside. It was two dribbles and a shot."
Movrich agreed that the key to the game was that the Lady Samsons took "better shots" and it led to their taking control of the game in the first half.
FDL made only four of 16 shots on two-point field goals and one of 12 from three-point land. 17.9 percent shooting doesn't lead to a lot of scoring and the Lady Thunder only chalked up 20 points in the first 20 minutes.
Gogebic only took one 3-pointer but converted on 16 of 37 two-pointers (43.2 percent). They produced 41 first half points.
The Lady Samsons started quickly when Heather Selin made a lay-in after going back door and getting a pass from Kisul.
But Fond du Lac recovered and took a 12-9 advantage when Shaelyn Halverson splashed a 3 from the corner with 10:35 remaining in the half.
But Gogebic reeled off 12 straight points behinds baskets by Selin (2), Kisul (2), Britanny Raisanen and two free throws by Bry Stengard to grab a 21-12 lead. The Lady Samsons would not trail again in the game.
In the final six minutes of the half, GCC out-scored the Lady Thunder 20-8 and took its biggest lead into halftime at 41-20.
And Raisanen, Stengard, Selin, Sam Ofstad and Kisul scored, but other players such as Samantha Robl and Adeline Kariainen joined the scoring parade. Movrich said Stengard played "real good defense," Selin got rebounds from her guard position, Korrie Trier did a good job rebounding and on defense and Kisul was "a bear on the boards."
In the second half, the Lady Samsons began pushing the ball up the court more, especially behind Ofstad, Raisanen, Stengard and Selin. Before long, Gogebic had its biggest lead of the game at 47-21.
"The nice thing was everybody got minutes and they were good quality minutes," Movrich said.
Later in the half, Fond du Lac went on another 3 spree, but this time they started going in. For the half, the Lady Thunder made 8-20 (40 percent) of its treys compared to 12-41 (29 percent) on its two-pointers. But it was too little, too late.
Movrich was pleased when he looked at the stat chart and saw his team had 20 turnovers.
"That's still kind of high, but we had 18 turnovers in the first half of our last game," he said.
The game's high scorer was Fond du Lac's Claudia Turner with 31 points.
GCC had a balanced scoring attack with Kisul leading the way with 14 points, while Stengard and Selin notched 12. Movrich said Kariainen came off the bench with some nice moves in the lane and scored 11. Raisanen and Ofstad almost reached double figures with eight points.
Kisul also hauled down 17 rebounds.
The Lady Samsons (1-2) will play Fond du Lac again next Tuesday on the road.
Fond du Lac - Shaelyn Halverson 8, Da'Rnay Sandlin 6, Shauna Goodman 2, Kami Diver 10, Claudia Turner 31. FGs:17-70, FTs: 14-21, 3-pointers: 9-33, Fouled out: none.
Gogebic - Samantha Robl 4, Korrie Trier 4, Bry Stengard 12, Heather Selin 12, Sam Ofstad 8, Brittany Raisanen 8, Adeline Kariainen 11, Brittni Kisul 14. FGs: 30-73, FTs: 13-22, 3-pointers: 0-7, Fouled out: none.
Half: Gogebic 41-20