2017-03-02 / Sports

Schmitt, Panthers claw past St. Mary in district opener

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff


ST. MARY senior Haley Tarsa encourages her teammates during a second-half timeout from Monday’s district quarterfinal loss to Frankfort in Northport. St. Mary will be tasked with replacing two seniors, Tarsa and Emily Holmes, next season. ST. MARY senior Haley Tarsa encourages her teammates during a second-half timeout from Monday’s district quarterfinal loss to Frankfort in Northport. St. Mary will be tasked with replacing two seniors, Tarsa and Emily Holmes, next season. Frankfort coach Tim Reznich knows his team’s path to a District 118 title may be tougher than it was a year ago.

“Last year, I had a very experienced team,” said Reznich, whose Panthers outscored Leland and Suttons Bay by 81 points in last year’s tournament. “This year, we’re the opposite. I have my two seniors, and those are really the only two girls that ever saw the court.”

Fortunately for Frankfort fans, one of those seniors is Cecelia Schmitt.

Schmitt poured in a game-high 21 points in round one of the tournament on Monday as the Lady Panthers powered past St. Mary in Northport, 42-30.

The senior forward made her lowpost presence felt as Frankfort swung the momentum in a 14-4 second quarter, scoring eight points.

“I’m real thankful I have Cecelia Schmitt on the floor to calm everyone down and score when we need a bucket,” Reznich said. “She was good as a freshman, one of my best post players, and her shooting was outstanding. This year, she’s developed the ability to drive and see the hole.”

St. Mary (12-7, 2-2 Cherryland) trailed 21-11 at halftime but tightened up defensively from there, trimming the Frankfort lead to six at one point in the third quarter.

The Panthers started to pull away again in the fourth, but a 3-pointer from Alyssa Davis — her first of two in the final stanza — made it 31-23 with a little more than five minutes remaining.

“Twenty-five caught me off guard,” Reznich said of Davis, a junior. “She was on fire. I took a timeout just to say ‘stop losing her,’ and next time down we lost her again.”

Davis scored all eight of her points in the fourth quarter, tying Hanna Grant for the team lead offensively, but Frankfort’s free-throw shooters spoiled the sudden outburst by knocking down 9-of-14 fourth-quarter freebies.

St. Mary coach Pete Finch said he was proud of his team’s effort.

“We had a great season and we played well for three quarters,” Finch said. “We just had a bad second quarter against a good team.”

Finch said his girls have a lot to look forward to in 2017-18, although it won’t be easy to replace senior forwards Emily Holmes and Haley Tarsa.

Both were three-year varsity players.

“I don’t know how I’m going to start practices without them next year,” Finch said.

Frankfort was slated to take on Suttons Bay after press time in the second round of districts last night following a matchup between Leland (5-15, 5-11 Northwest) and Northport (12-1, 3-1 Cherryland). Winners will compete in Friday’s final at 7 p.m.


Correction: This story has been updated with the correct name of a misidentified player.

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