Mustangs charge back to beat Superior Central

The Munising Mustangs launched a big second half comeback to defeat the Superior Central Cougars 44-37 in Eben Junction on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Big plays from Emmy Crisp and Bailey Corcoran help erased a nine-point lead for the rivalry win.

“Superior Central played a great game. Got to give them credit, because defensively they played smart,” Munising Head Coach Matt Mattson said.

The Cougars defense spread out the Mustangs’ offense for the majority of the first quarter, with Munising unable to score from the floor until over halfway in the first quarter. SC was able to build up an 8-1 lead with Emily Augustyn and Sammy Johnson hitting multiple layups. A good push by Emmy Crisp help cut the lead to just 12-10 at the end of the quarter.

SC started the second hot once again, with Augustyn and Alice Hancock hitting buckets to bring the lead back up to 9. The home team had a 23-18 advantage at the half.

“Every game against Munising is a battle,” SC Head Coach Skip Rutter said. “I think we’re right there with them.”

Mattson was to the point in the locker room, with the Mustangs returning to the floor with over 80 percent of halftime still remaining.

“It was a spirited halftime talk. We’re only in for two minutes and I said what I needed to say and the girls figured it out from there,” he said. “It wasn’t any X’s and O’s, it was the girls figuring some things out and it led to a 12-point turn around.”

But while the Cougars were building up a first-half lead, they were also creating a foul problem. With just seven varsity players, each SC starter had multiple fouls to start the second half. Johnson received her fourth on the first foul of the second half, so she sat the rest of the third until the fourth and promptly was called on a phantom foul openly booed by Munising and Superior Central fans alike.

“She’s prone to fouls even when she’s going straight up. It’s an emphasis we’re working on every day. I’d be surprised if she played 22 minutes tonight and she’s a big part of our offense and defense,” Rutter said.

The Mustangs tied the game for the first time at 23 after getting to the line on a Johnson foul before Maddie Begovac hit back-to-back NBA-distance three pointers to retake the lead. The Cougars kept a slim 32-31 to end the third.

Munising struggled on the glass, going 0 for 9 on second- chance opportunities in the first half. Dayne Behning put back a couple in the third quarter, but Munising struggled to convert offensive rebounds to point.

“We had some nice looks and we just weren’t making them. We’ll work on the fundamentals and clean some things up and those buckets are going to go in,” Mattson said.

Rutter said the limited bench of two freshmen players of Marissa Strohm and Adrianna Frusti was a bright spot, given the foul troubles in the contest.

“I was especially proud of our bench with two freshmen in the first half. With two starters on the bench, they came in and they held their own,” he said.

Begovac led all scorers with 12 points. Augustyn and Corcoran also broke double digits for their respective teams.

Superior Central plays Rapid River at home on Friday, Dec. 9 while the Mustangs will play next Tuesday at Brimley.