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Hackett starts fast, wears down DK girls in district

Delton Kellogg guard Mary Whitmore attacks the basket during her team's loss to Hackett Catholic Prep in the Division 3 District Semifinal Wednesday at Kalamazoo Christian High School. (Photo by Brett Bremer)

Brett Bremer

Sports Editor

The Panthers were never able to get a handle on Hackett this season.

The Delton Kellogg varsity girls' basketball team suffered its third loss of the season to the Fighting Irish Wednesday as it was bested 42-22 in the Division 3 District Semifinals at Kalamazoo Christian High School.

The Irish won their two Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley Division match-ups by an average of 15 points. The difference Wednesday was that the Delton Kellogg girls really struggled to put the ball in the basket.

“I think we played a little scared in that first quarter. We're looking at (Ellie Batts) instead of looking at the hoop,” DK head coach Mike Mohn said. “We had a little meeting there, and then Erin (Kapteyn) kind of figured it out. She had that little spurt in the second quarter.  We cut it to nine and then cut it to eight, and I thought well maybe we've arrived, and then we kind of got silly with it again.”

Hackett Catholic Prep's big sophomore center Batts was a beast on both ends of her team, protecting the rim on defense and putting in a game-high 23 points on the other end. She had nine points in the first quarter as her team pushed out to a 16-3 lead.

Delton Kellogg got back to within 20-12 by the half, but that was as closed as they'd get the rest of the evening.

“They're a pretty good team. They really press the issue,” Mohn said. “They make you have to be relentless. That is the first time I have seen our kids tired like that. I don't know if it was just the emotion or if it was that it was the last game for most of our team, whatever it is. Who knows the answer? We just had some kids going, I've got nothing left in the tank.”

Holly McManus led Delton Kellogg with eight points, knocking down two three-pointers. Kapteyn finished with seven points and Mary Whitmore five.

Kapteyn did her best to use her athleticism to keep Batts under control in the post. She was spelled here and there by senior Katie Tobias and foreign exchange student Eva Fernandez Villalobos who showed some moments of fire not wanting to see her Delton Kellogg basketball time come to an end.

The DK girls fought to win four of their final games of the regular season, including their final three, to close out a 6-6 SAC Valley campaign and guarantee themselves a winning record overall for the season.

The Hackett girls are now 20-4, still rolling through the state tournament. They bested district host Kalamazoo Christian 44-27 in the district final Friday and beat Niles Brandywine in the regional semifinals at Schoolcraft Tuesday 49-43.

Hackett is set to face 21-2 Schoolcraft in the regional final tonight. The Eagles won both SAC Valley ballgames between the two teams this season.

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