Mattawan loses close one to St. Joe

Steve Taylor
Mattawan junior Yamiah Lyons (34) drives for a score in last Wednesday’s District semifinal loss to St. Joe.	TSS Photography/Steve Taylor

 The season ended for the Mattawan women’s basketball team with a 30-27 District loss to St. Joe last Wednesday.  The Wildcats, coming back from a 13-8 first quarter deficit, took the lead at the half with a 10-0 second quarter, giving them an 18-13 lead and what appeared to be the momentum needed to advance to the District championship game.   
   Unfortunately, for the Lady Cats, St. Joe turned the tables in the third, holding Mattawan to four points while scoring 11 of their own. The Lady Bears took a 24-22 lead that they rode for a 30-27 St. Joe win.
  Though disappointed with the loss, Mattawan’s first year head coach Chad Conklin had nothing but praise for his young team. “I am very happy with how my first season as varsity coach went this year.  Even though some may say that our record of 6-16 doesn't show any improvement, we made great strides this year.
“We played much more aggressively as the season went on and were competitive with the top teams in the league, when we played at home this year,” said Conklin. 
  He went on to single out a couple of his players. “Natalie Foster, our 6’4” freshman center averaged 12 points, seven rebounds, and four blocked shots per game this season. 
“Yamiah Lyons, our junior, guard/forward will also return next year and she averaged five points and five rebounds this season, and I will expect more out of her next season”
  Conklin mentioned the youth of his team. “We had seven freshmen between the varsity and JV teams this season; so, our program is very young.  I had some great senior leadership this year which well help the younger girls understand what it takes to be a leader and be a player in our girls’ basketball program.  
“One of my goals this season was to get more girls at Mattawan interested in basketball.   We have more girls playing basketball in our youth programs than ever before, so I am excited about our program.”

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