Fowler vs. Morrice – – MHSAA Girls District Semifinal – – The Bleacher Denizen – – March 2, 2022 – – by Chuck Krafft

After watching Portland St. Patrick win the first girls’ semifinal tonight at Lansing Christian, it’s time to watch and write up the game between the Eagles of Fowler and the Orioles of Morrice to see who St. Patrick’s opponent will be in the District Final.

For those who may be interested, here is a link to the St. Patrick semifinal win from earlier tonight!
https://thebleacherdenizen.com/2022/03/03/portland-st-patrick-vs-lansing-christian-mhsaa-district-tournament-semifinal-the-bleacher-denizen-march-2-2022-by-chuck-krafft/

The Fowler Eagles enter this game with a 17-3 record. However, the three losses are to top rated Portland St. Patrick (twice) and defending Division 2 Champions Portland. Fowler has beaten most of the good teams that they have played this year. Their top players are senior Mia Riley and her sister, junior Emma Riley.

The Rileys are really competitive, excellent athletes who both are fearsome defenders either on the perimeter or in the post when needed. They are excellent ball handlers who are incredibly difficult for most players to defend one on one. They are excellent slashing to the basket, stopping and popping from mid-range or shooting the three ball. Both are strong rebounders; Mia, especially is amazing in her ability to snag rebounds away from bigger players. Emma has an incredibly sweet three point shot when she gets going. Both are all-State players and there is no question that either deserves that honor.

Grace Epkey is a tough rebounder and defender in the lane. She scores well near the basket and if she’s open, she can hit shots from the three point line. Avery Koenigsknecht and Carly Andros are two more fierce perimeter defenders who can also hit shots from the three point line. Madison Wirth brings senior leadership and aggressive defense off the bench for the Eagles. Taylor Weber is another fine defender on the perimeter for the Eagles.

Morrice’s Orioles enter the game with a 12-5 record. They won the Genesee Athletic Conference Blue Division this year. Aubrey Rogers is a quick and athletic player who can defend well either on the perimeter of in the lane. She is excellent at slashing to the basket and is a good shooter from midrange as well. Abi Beem is a good athlete who scores well either from three point range or by slashing to the basket. She is a tough perimeter defender as well.

Lily Nowak has super quick hands and feet and is a threat to steal the ball from anyone at any time. Makenzie Doerner runs the point for the Orioles. She has an excellent basketball IQ and always makes the correct pass; she is never caught out of position either on offense or on defense. Kaylee McGowan is a fine defender and rebounder in the post. Mallory Munro is a strong perimeter defender and midrange shooter.

It is now time to look at the events of this game through the cracked, but eager lenses of an aging Bleacher Denizen who was never able to escape church league when he played basketball in medieval times. A lot of people criticized his lateral quickness on defense, but most people moved somewhat slowly in the medieval armor we used for basketball uniforms in those times.

Fowler wins the opening tap. The Eagles miss a layup. Mia Riley steals the ball and is fouled on a fast break layup. She hits one of her two free throws to give Fowler the first point of the game. Morrice misses an eight foot shot from the side of the lane. Avery Koenigsknecht hits a sixteen foot shot from the wing for Fowler. Avery Koenigsknecht steals the ball and hits a fast break layup to give her Eagles a 5-0 lead.

Morrice loses a pass out of bounds. Fowler misses a three point shot from the side. Grace Epkey is fouled on a putback and hits one of her two free throws for Fowler. The rebound is tied up and the Possession Arrow’s legal committee awards the ball to Morrice. Grace Epkey steals the ball for Fowler. Aubrey Rogers blocks a Fowler shot. Emma Riley recovers the ball and hits a layup to give Fowler an 8-0 lead.

Morrice misses a sixteen foot jumper from the baseline. Avery Koenigsknecht passes to Emma Riley, who hits a layup for the Eagles. Grace Epkey is steals the ball and is fouled on a fast break layup. She hits one of her two free throws to give Fowler an 11-0 lead with 5:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Grace Epkey knocks the ball away from Morrice and Emma Riley grabs it for Fowler. Mia Riley hits a putback for the Eagles. Kaylee McGowan hits a layup to give Morrice its first two points. Fowler misses a threeball from the corner. Emma Riley pulls down the offensive rebound for the Eagles. Fowler misses a threeball from the wing. Avery Koenigsknecht gets the offensive rebound for Fowler. Carly Andros passes to Emma Riley, who throws in a threeball from the wing to boost the Fowler lead to 16-2.

Morrice misses a five foot shot in the lane. Emma Riley hits a fast break layup for Fowler. Mia Riley knocks the ball out of bounds; Morrice retains possession. Aubrey Rogers reacts quickly to prevent a loose ball from becoming an Oriole turnover. Mia Riley steals the ball and is fouled on a fast break layup. She hits two free throws to give Fowler a 20-2 lead with 3:35 remaining in the first quarter.

Morrice turns the ball over. Fowler misses a three pointer from the corner. Mia Riley gets her hand on the ball and Morrice loses it out of bounds. Taylor Weber makes an alert save to prevent a Fowler bad pass from becoming a turnover. The Eagles pass the ball out of bounds. Grace Epkey knocks the ball away from Morrice and Emma Riley picks it up for Fowler. Fowler misses a fast break layup. Mia Riley gets the offensive rebound for Fowler. Fowler misses a layup.

Morrice misses a jump shot. Lily Nowak gets the offensive rebound for the Orioles. Mallory Munro saves the ball to prevent an Oriole turnover. Mia Riley knocks the ball away from the Orioles, but they are able to recover. Abi Beem passes to Aubrey Rogers, who hits a twelve foot shot from the side for Morrice. The Riley Connection connects as Mia Riley passes to Emma Riley, who hits a fifteen foot shot from the baseline to give Fowler a 22-4 lead.

Morrice loses a pass out of bounds. Fowler throws a pass out of bounds. Emma Riley steals the ball for Fowler. Lily Nowak gets her hand on the ball, but Fowler recovers. Mia Riley hits a layup for the Eagles at the buzzer.

After one quarter, Fowler has a 24-4 lead.

Fowler has the ball to start off the second quarter. The Eagles misfire on a threeball from the corner; the rebound goes out of bounds and Morrice takes possession. Emma Riley knocks the ball awy from Morrice and Madison Wirth picks it up for Fowler. Madison Wirth passes to Emma Riley, who hits a fast break layup for the Eagles. Morrice commits a traveling violation. Madison Wirth inbounds the ball to Mia Riley, who hits a layup to give Fowler a 28-4 lead.

Aubrey Rogers drives and hits a layup for Morrice. Fowler misses a fifteen foot shot form the baseline. Fowler misses a jump shot from the free throw line. Fowler misses a three point shot from the corner. The rebound is tied up and the Possession Arrow decrees that Morrice shall have the ball. Mia Riley and Emma Riley do a fierce double team and force Morrice to travel. Makenzie Doerner knocks the ball away from the Eagles, but Fowler recovers. Emma Riley drives and hits a layup that gives Fowler a 30-6 lead.

Morrice loses the ball out of bounds. Lily Nowak steals the ball for the Orioles; Morrice misses a fast break layup. Fowler misses a layup. Carly Andros hits a putback for the Eagles. Grace Epkey gets her hand on the ball; that leads to a Morrice over and back violation. Fowler misses a jumper from the free throw line. Mia Riley pulls down the offensive rebound and passes to Avery Koenigsknecht, who hits a layup to give Fowler a 34-6 lead.

Mia Riley draws a charging foul from the Orioles. Savannah Miles steals a Fowler pass. Morrice misses a sixteen foot jumper from the wing. Savannah Miles is fouled on a putback and hits one of her two free throws. With 3:23 to go in the second quarter, Fowler has a 34-7 lead.

Quinn Watts passes to Carly Andros, who hits a three point shot from the side for Fowler. Morrice misses a three point shot from the the side. Aubrey Rogers grabs the offensive rebound for the Orioles. Abi Beem alertly saves the ball to prevent an Oriole turnover. Morrice throws a pass out of bounds. Fowler misses a three point shot from the side. Morrice misses a fourteen foot shot from the side of the lane. Savannah Miles gets the offensive rebound for Morrice. Avery Koenigsknecht steals the ball and hits a fast break layup to push the Fowler lead to 39-7.

Emma Riley steals the ball for Fowler and passes to Carly Andros, who hits a layup for the Eagles. Carly Androws dives and steals the ball. Avery Koenigsknecht hits a fast break layup for Fowler. Quinn Watts draws a charging foul from Morrice. Mia Riley passes to Emma Riley, who throws in a threeball from the wing for Fowler. Morrice misses a layup. Fowler misses a three pointer from the wing. Mia Riley hits a putback for Fowler. Abi Beem’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer hits the side of the top of the rim, but does not go through.

At halftime, Fowler has a 48-7 lead.

Morrice has the ball to open the third quarter. Taylor Weber steals the ball for Fowler and hits a fast break layup. Morrice misses a three point shot from the corner. Aubrey Rogers steals the ball for the Orioles. Makenzie Doerner passes to Savannah Miles, who hits an eighteen foot shot from the top of the key for Morrice. Brin Thelen passes to Taylor Weber, who hits a layup to give Fowler a 52-9 lead.

Morrice misses a fifteen foot shot from the side. Fowler misses a jump shot from the free throw elbow. The rebound goes out of bounds and Morrice takes possession. Morrice missees a twelve foot shot from the side. Kaylee McGowan pulls down the offensive rebound for the Orioles. Morrice is fouled on a layup and misses two free throws. With 5:25 left on the third quarter clock, Fowler has a 52-9 lead.

Fowler misses a three point shot fromt he wing. Morrice misses a layup. Kaylee McGowan gets the offensive rebound for the Orioles. Morrice is fouled on a layup, but misses two free throws. Fowler misses a three point shot from the wing. The rebound goes out of bounds and the Eagles get another opportunity. Grace O’Hare inbounds the ball to Brianne Halfmann, who hits a layup to give Fowler a 56-9 lead.

Makenzie Doerner passes to Aubrey Rogers who hits a three point shot from the wing for Morrice. Fowler misses a sixteen foot shot from the side. The rebound is tied up; the Possession Arrow awards the ball to Fowler. Kaylee McGowan steals the Eagle inbound pass. Fowler’s defense forces Morrice to call time out to avoid turning the ball over for failing to inbound it in five seconds. Brianne Halfmann steals a Morrice pass. Fowler misses a twelve foot shot from the side and fouls on the rebound. Rebecca Smith steals the ball and draws a foul as the third quarter buzzer sounds.

After three quarters, Fowler has a 56-12 lead.

Morrice inbounds the ball to get the fourth quarter underway. Quinn Watts passes to Brianne Halfmann, who hits a five foot banked hook for Fowler. Aubrey Rogers passes to Makenzie Doerner, who hits a three point shot from the wing for Morrice. Sydney Wyzga knocks the ball away from Fowler and Makenzie Doerner grabs it for Morrice. Grace O’Hare steals the ball for Fowler. Mallory Munro steals the ball for Morrice and draws a foul from the Eagles.

Morrice misses a three point shot from the top of the key. Aubrey Rogers knocks the ball out of bounds; Fowler gets another opportunity. Fowler misses a three point shot from the corner. Rebecca Smith hits a putback for Fowler. Morrice is fouled, but misses the first shot of a one and one opportunity. With 3:35 left on the clock, Fowler has a 60-15 lead.

Mallory Munro steals the ball for Morrice. Morrice loses a pass out of bounds. Rebecca Smith passes to Grace O’Hare, who hits a three point shot from the top of the key for Fowler. Morrice loses the ball out of bounds. Aubrey Rogers nearly steals the ball for Morrice, but the ball goes out of bounds and Fowler gets it back. Fowler throws a pass out of bounds. Abi Beem drives and hits a layup for Morrice. Aubrey Rogers steals the ball and hits a fast break layup for Morrice. Fowler loses the ball out of bounds. Morrice throws a pass out of bounds. Fowler runs out the clock.

Fowler wins 63-19 and will play Portland St. Patrick in the District Final Friday night.

Aubrey Rogers led the Morrice scoring with 9 points. Makenzie Doerner and Savannah Miles each added 3 points. Abi Beem and Kaylee McGowan each tallied 2 points.

Emma Riley led the Fowler scoring with 16 points. Mia Riley contributed 13 points. Avery Koenigsknecht joined her teammates in double figures with 10 points. Carly Andros scored 7 points. Grace O’Hare pitched in with 5 points. Taylor Weber and Brianne Halfmann each added 4 points. Grace Epkey and Rebecca Smith each had 2 points.

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