Martin junior Jaclyn Hildebrand drives past a Gobles defender during the second half of the Clippers’ loss to the Tigers. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Clippers stumble in battle of unbeatens with Gobles

Jason Wesseldyk

They are who we thought they were.
Dennis Green, then the coach of the Arizona Cardinals, uttered those words in reference to the Chicago Bears during a fiery press conference after his team suffered a tough loss to the Bears in 2006.
Martin girls’ basketball coach Doug MacVean shared a similar sentiment following his team’s SAC Lakeshore game against visiting Gobles on Friday, Jan. 18.
“They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect,” MacVean said following his team’s 52-31 loss. “We prepared for exactly what we saw from them. We just didn’t do a good enough job of executing our game plan.”
Both teams entered the game unbeaten, with Martin’s record standing at 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the division. Gobles was 8-0 overall and 3-0 against divisional opponents.
“This was obviously a big game and maybe we let the moment get to us a little bit,” MacVean said. “The girls had heard the talk about this game. It was homecoming. We were undefeated. They were undefeated. It was a lot of hype.
“I didn’t really see it affect them in practice this week, but maybe the nerves got to us a little bit because I didn’t recognize us out there tonight. It was a very uncharacteristic game for us.”
Turnovers plagued Martin, particularly in the first half.
The Clippers turned over the ball 15 times in the first and second quarters.
“Turnovers really hadn’t been a problem for us this season,” MacVean said. “We’d been doing a good job of taking care of the ball, but that wasn’t the case tonight.”
Gobles jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Martin got on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws from Kiaya Warner with 4:34 left in the opening stanza. The Clippers didn’t score again until Jaclyn Hildebrand knocked down a 3-pointer in the closing minute of the first quarter.
Despite those struggles, Martin still trailed just 10-5 at that point. The deficit shrank to three points at 10-7 following a basket by Faith Gurtiz to open play in the second frame.
But those would be the only points Martin would score in the quarter as Gobles closed out the half on a 19-0 run to go up 29-7.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” MacVean said. “We couldn’t get in any sort of rhythm. We never looked comfortable.”
The second half was better for Martin, which matched Gobles with eight points in the third quarter and held a 16-15 edge in the fourth quarter.
But it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the damage inflicted in the first half.
“I hate losing and I definitely didn’t want to lose this game,” MacVean said. “But hopefully we’ll be able to look back later in the season and say this was the best thing that could have happened to us.
“It’s like I told the girls. This loss doesn’t change the team we are. We’re still the same team that won our first six games. We just need to use this as motivation and get back to work.”
Warner led Martin with 15 points, followed by Hildebrand with nine and Guritz—who was back in the lineup after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury—with six points.
Christiana Hunt paced Gobles with 17 points, while Maddy Tiller was close behind with 16. Libbee Nason added 13 points.


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