The Warriors played most of the game without star center Aubrey Goorman, who exited the game in the first quarter after taking an elbow to the head.
WMC’s role players stepped up in a big way, fueling a 17-11 first-break with sharp-shooting and physical defense. The effort gave the Warriors a 34-18 lead heading into halftime and a 45-32 lead going into the final frame.
Anna Sytsema filled in Goorman’s favorite statistical categories, scoring a game-high 23 points and securing 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, senior Madison Heiss made WMC history, tying the school record for made three-pointers with six on the night for her total 18 points.
“It feels pretty good. I would say I credit my teammates, they really looked for me tonight and I guess it was just an on night,” Heiss said. “I wanted the seventh really badly, but there is still a few games left, so it is definitely achievable.”
The record-setting performance, combined with Systema’s dominating play in the paint, proved their success this season isn’t limited without their star player.
“It was unfortunate to see Aubrey go down, but it was good for us to see what the other girls were like filling in, just in case something happens down the road,” WMC head coach Jeremy Goorman said. “They came through, big-time. Heiss with six 3-pointers was feeling it tonight, Anna had a great game and I thought that Alyssa Eekoff and Taylor Folkema produced really well, too. It was a nice win for us.”
After pulling ahead in the first quarter, Heiss and Systema were the exclusive scorers in the second quarter, while the rest of the Warriors worried about holding the Tigers to just six points on two 3-pointers.
Heights made a run in the third quarter to cut the Warrior lead to nine, triggering a timeout by Goorman. The stop was effective, as WMC scored the next 11 points through the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter to put the game back in check.
“We played more aggressive tonight overall because we knew they were aggressive also,” Heiss said of the win. We tried some different plays, we set better picks, overall we played really well because we knew they would also.”
The Warriors return to the court to face Orchard View next Friday, who sits at 0-8 in the conference. A win over the Cardinals would clinch a Lakes Eight title for WMC, as Ludington occupies second place at 6-2 overall. Tip-off against Orchard View is slated for 6 p.m. at WMC.