Flint Hamady Wins Roundball Classic

Flint Hamady Wins Roundball Classic
Posted on 01/06/2023
DETROIT — The Oscoda girls basketball team played down at the Motor City Roundball Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 27. The Lady Owls, playing Flint Hamady at Redford Westfield Prep, certainly had a good showing, leading for most of the first half, but ultimately came up on the short end, 38-32.

“I think we were the only class ‘C’ school there, it is mostly all ‘A’ and ‘B’ schools, and is kind of an invite only (event),” head coach Mark Toppi said. “There are a lot of good teams there from all over the state, Indiana and Ohio. It is pretty nice that we even got invited. I thought it was a game we should have won, I think we have beaten teams that were better than Hamady this year, but we had a few players that just didn’t have their best games.”

Playing in the annual showcase that features some of the top teams, Oscoda got off to a good start, despite making the trip without a key starter. A first quarter lay-up by Elle Kellstrom gave Oscoda a 9-3 lead and a three pointer from straight-on by Luella Whipkey helped the Owls to a 12-5 lead after one.

In the second, a free throw by Ava Gooch made it 13-5 and Kingsley Backstrom sent through a second-chance hoop to keep the lead at eight, 15-7.

Hamady went on a run to surge ahead 19-18, but Emily Smith was able to put the Owls back in front with a three pointer, 21-19.

“I thought we got off to a good start, and then we knew they were going to make some kind of a run, we didn’t think we would keep pulling away from them,” Toppi said. “We just didn’t respond very good. I think we were a little nervous and we had a bad week of practice. We had a lot of people sick and some that were coming back from illness, so we weren’t practicing as hard as we normally practice.”

The Owls led 22-20 at the half, but the offense dried up in the final two quarters. Backstrom had the team’s lone points in the second, as Hamady pulled ahead 28-22 entering the fourth.

In the final frame, Smith and Kellstrom were able to hit shots from the floor, but the Owls went four-of-nine from the line, allowing Hamady to finish off the win.

“We struggled from the free throw line (7-of-20), which we normally don’t do,” Toppi said. “I don’t know if it was nerves or what but we never seem to do well with long trips. I don’t know why that is, but we have to figure that out. When we get to regionals, it is going to be some sort of bus trip.”

The Owls had Backstrom finish with nine points, Whipkey hit two threes and finished with eight points, Kellstrom put in six, Smith was able to score five in her biggest role to date in varsity game and Gooch contributed four.

“Smith had a good game for us, that was her best performance on varsity,” Toppi said. “She hit a three, rebounded well and defended pretty good, so she was a bright spot. Kellstrom was playing good, but then she fouled out and I think that kind of hurt us at the end. I thought we had way too many unforced turnovers and that was a big difference in the game.”

Oscoda (4-2 overall) hosts Mio on Friday for their North Star League Big Dipper opener. The Owls also play down at Standish-Sterling on Monday and are at rival Tawas Area on Wednesday.
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