Hildebrand, Shettler lead Martin past Indians
Jaclyn Hildebrand and Gracie Shettler combined to score 11 points during the first quarter of Martin’s SAC Lakeshore girls’ basketball clash with visiting Saugatuck on Friday, Dec. 20.
It was the start of a special night for both players.
Hildebrand and Shettler finished as the Clippers top two scorers with 22 and 13 points, respectively, marking a new career high for both players as they led Martin to the 60-41 victory.
“I’m very pleased with the way the girls played overall,” first-year Martin coach Ben Schipper said. “We’ve been working quite a bit on our dribble-drive action, getting to the paint and making something happen rather than being passive and waiting around. I thought we came a long way in this game.”
That effort was, of course, led by Hildebrand.
After scoring seven points in the opening frame to help the Clippers take a slim 14-12 lead, Hildebrand added six more points in the second quarter on a pair of 3-pointers. That spurred Martin to a 16-7 advantage in the stanza as the Clippers took a 30-19 lead to halftime.
“Jaclyn has always been a scorer, but tonight was the most efficient game I’ve ever seen her play,” Schipper said. “We’ve been pushing her to be more balanced around the rim and to utilize her sweet mid-range jumper more and she’s worked extremely hard to rise to the challenge.”
Shettler added five points in the second quarter, including one triple.
“I’m also very proud of the game Gracie played,” Schipper said. “She was more aggressive and effective with her dribble drive and finishing around the rim than I’ve ever seen, which led to her scoring a career high. She also showed her toughness, taking a brutal charge and popping right back up and also getting kicked in the face a different time in the game without letting it phase her.”
The win kept Martin unbeaten at 5-0, while Saugatuck slipped to 2-4 as the Indians suffered their third straight loss. All three of those losses came to teams that were state-ranked last season.
“This has been a brutal stretch for us, which we knew it would be,” Saugatuck coach Kevin Tringali said. “This game was a lot like the other two (against Gobles and Schoolcraft). We were able to stay close in the first quarter, but weren’t able to sustain that into the second quarter.”
Unlike the games with Gobles and Schoolcraft, Tringali was a little disappointed with his team’s effort level against the Clippers.
“Martin is a very talented team, but the thing that was the big difference was that they outworked us,” Tringali said. “I hate to say that, because we’re a team that prides ourselves on working hard. But I really felt that we got outworked tonight.”
One positive for Saugatuck was the play of Zoey Meyers, who finished with a game-topping 25 points, including four 3-pointers. Myers started the game with eight points in the first frame and finished it with eight points in the final frame.
“Zoey always gives a great effort and she was out there knocking down shots,” Tringali said. “She played a great game.”
Martin maintained its 11-point lead into the early stages of the fourth quarter at 40-29 before back-to-back 3-pointers from Kiaya Warner and Bri Warner extended the Clippers’ lead to 46-29. That lead grew to as many as 23 points at 55-32.
“We played four good quarters of basketball,” Schipper said. “That’s something we’ve been stressing. In our previous games, it seemed like we’d lose focus at times. I thought we did much better in that area.”
Bri Warner added eight points for Martin, with Freddie Elkins going for seven and Kiaya Warner chipping in with seven. Faith Guritz contributed 11 rebounds.
Emma Walker had eight points for Saugatuck.