Sophomore Carley Guerne attempts a shot against Buckley in a 65-41 home win versus Buckley on January 19.

By Mr. Zane Harding, Mason Sinke, and Ashlyn Blackmore

On Wednesday evening, the Onekama girls basketball team faced a familiar foe in Buckley in a district semi-finals showdown. After exchanging home wins in the regular season, the Lady Portagers entered Wednesday night's game motivated and prepared, surging to a 79-45 win.

The 34-point Onekama win was many things. It was a team effort, as the girls patiently and effectively passed the ball throughout the night. It was a hot start to the first half that led to a 20-point Onekama halftime lead. and a fiery 29-point third quarter effort that allowed Onekama to enter its entire bench for the final five minutes of the game. It was Onekama overcoming Buckley's box-and-one defense in a team-centric effort, punishing the Buckley defense on wide-open looks throughout the night. And it was an exhilarating win for a young girls' team arriving to the MHSAA district playoffs well-ahead of schedule, based on the team's relative youth, and a signature win in the 2023-24 academic year for the Onekama school community.

Within the team effort were numerous noteworthy individual performances. Junior Heather Zielinski contributed 16 points in one of her strongest performances all season; freshman Ava Mauntler and eighth grader Callie Sinke each contributed 18 points despite staunch defensive attention from Buckley; and sophomores Carley Guerene and Hailey Hart, and freshmen Delaney McCarthy and Addy Zeller combined for 27 points collectively whilst contributing to the team on both sides of the court throughout the night. Sophomore Anna Bradford, freshman Elizabeth McKeough, and eighth graders Ellie Edmondson, Kaelyn Guerene, and Emma Bradford also saw action in the team win.

The Lady Portagers will play rival Frankfort in the district finals tomorrow at Mesick, Friday March 8, beginning at 7:00 PM. Like Buckley, Onekama split home wins with Frankfort this season, but Frankfort will surely enter the game with a confident spirit, having won eight district titles in the past ten years. Come on down to see how their season series and the district playoffs conclude tomorrow!

(Lastly, thank you to Journalism students Mason Sinke and Ashlyn Blackmore for attending and assisting on the recap for this game! It is a pleasure to grow our school's Journalism and Yearbook programs with your student leadership in fourth hour.)