COLUMBIA CITY — Indian Springs Middle School’s seventh-grade girls basketball team finished its perfect season by claiming the Northeast 8 Middle School Conference title in front of a large crowd.
The Eagles hosted rival Norwell, winning 34-25 after a competitive game.
Norwell came out aggressive and both teams exchanged leads in the first quarter. Tied 7-7 to start the second quarter, the Eagles outscored Norwell 13-3 to take a 20-10 halftime lead.
“That second quarter was big for us,” coach Todd Fry said. “I think both teams were a little nervous and jacked up from the large crowd and very loud student sections. This was not a middle school atmosphere tonight, it was a high school atmosphere.”
Guards Tessa Tonkel and Kyndra Sheets led the scoring with nine and eight points, respectively. Forwards Molly Baker and Faith Frey dominated the post, scoring five points each, and Baker recorded six rebounds. Nina Bell added a 3-pointer and Jada VanHouten had two points to finish out the Eagles’ scoring.
It was the Eagles’ 21st win of the season with zero losses.
“What more can you say about these girls?” Fry said. “Coach (Brandon) Marshall and myself are just so proud of them. They deserve everything the get because they work very hard and are so coachable.”
This is ISMS’ third seventh-grade conference championship in a row.
“That’s our goal every year,” Marshall said. “And now, we have done it three years in a row with three different middle school teams. It says a lot about our program and the pride we have in it.”
In ISMS’s second round game against Leo, the Eagles jumped out to a 22-4 lead at halftime on their way to a 43-12 victory.
Sheets led with a game-high 18 points. Chloe Krieg came off the bench to score eight points.
ISMS had little trouble in their semifinal game against DeKalb, winning 50-7. The Eagles’ full-court, pressure defense turned into several easy offensive baskets, and ISMS jumped out to a 24-0 lead after the first quarter.
Tonkel led the team in scoring with 15 points. Sheets added nine points and nine steals, and the Eagles shot a blistering 51 percent from the field.
Eighth grade girls fall short
The eighth-grade girls fell short in the conference title game on the same night, losing 37-25 to Norwell, finishing with a 14-7 record.
“We came out a little flat. Give Norwell credit, they jumped on us early and never led us get anything going,” coach Garry Harris said. “We came up short, but I told my kids in the locker room that they had nothing to be ashamed of. They worked hard all season and gave it everything they had, we just came up short.”
The girls won the semifinal game over DeKalb, 26-22. Kensy Mabie had a stellar game with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Mattie Stonebraker followed with six points and five rebounds.
Gracie Hurst rounded out the scoring with two points.
“I thought we played really well on the defensive end of the floor,” Harris said. “We held their two best players to a total of three points. I felt like we had a good game plan going in and the team executed.”
The win was the Eagles’ seventh in a row.