CHEBOYGAN — Sometimes all it takes is for one shot to go in.
For nearly a quarter-and-a-half, the Cheboygan Lady Chiefs were struggling to make that all-important bucket to get them going.
But with 4:46 left in the second quarter, senior center Maggie Chasse finally put an end to Cheboygan's agonizing field goal drought with a layup.
The basket was the catalyst needed for the Lady Chiefs, who settled down the rest of the way, found their offensive groove, and cruised to a season-opening 41-23 victory over Boyne City at home Tuesday night.
After a poorly played first quarter that featured several turnovers and missed shots, the Lady Chiefs, who trailed 4-1 after one, finished the second quarter strong to take an 11-8 lead into the break.
Building off their positive end to the first half, the Lady Chiefs (1-0) opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run keyed by a pair of nifty made baskets from junior point guard Cassidy Jewell, who scored six points off the bench.
The Lady Chiefs used an 18-4 scoring advantage in the third to take a commanding 29-12 lead going into the final period.
"I would say in the second half we settled down, finally," said Cheboygan coach Barry Salter. "I think we had those first-game jitters where we created good shots, we created turnovers to actually be able to score off of it, and we just made some silly mistakes. Some passes that were rushed, some passes that were not thrown as strikes where we could've finished for layups, and then we just had open shots where we flat-out missed."
Despite a solid defensive showing, Boyne City (0-1) could never consistently get its offense going because of the swarming defense of the Lady Chiefs, who forced several turnovers throughout the night.
Chasse's game-high 11 points led Cheboygan, while senior guard CJ Salter scored seven and fellow senior Mabel Styburski had a productive night off the bench with four points.
"We had some great contributions in the second half," Salter said. "CJ (Salter) hit a couple in the third, Cassidy Jewell came out and was just a spark plug off the bench for us. She got some layups with her speed. Defensively, she added to what Kenzie Burt and Olivia (Chamberlain) and Marah (Roberts) were doing as far as creating turnovers in the half court. I thought we did a great job defensively. There's some kinks we need to work out. I mean it's game one, but I think we played a great defensive game. We just now need to learn how to convert off the turnovers we create."
Raegan Woodall scored 10 points to pace the Lady Ramblers, who also received five points from Ava Magninity.
It was a difficult evening for the Ramblers, whose inexperience showed throughout the contest.
"We just have a lot of kids who have not played a lot of varsity games, so you're putting kids in positions they've never been in before," said Boyne City assistant coach Chuck Day, who stepped in for head coach Adam Stefanski, who wasn't present on Tuesday due to COVID-19 complications. "They've handled the ball a lot, but they haven't handled it in varsity competition.
"The effort was outstanding, especially in the first half, but I think we got tired."
Burt finished with three points for Cheboygan, which received two points apiece from Chamberlain, Roberts, Kaitlyn Penfield, Jordan Young and Jackie Seaman.
"CJ had seven, Cassidy had six, Maggie (Chassie) had 11, and I thought Mabel (Styburski) and Maggie did a nice job on the boards tonight," Salter said. "It was scrappy down there and I felt they held their own. They were in good defensive position all night. You can go right across the board and there were good contributions.
"It was a good rotation."
The win was an early confidence boost for the Lady Chiefs, who will look to improve to 2-0 when they travel to Gaylord on Friday.
"It was a new defense, but I was a little nervous that they were going to go back to their old ways as soon as they hit a game where people were in the stands, but I think the girls did a great job," Salter said. "Great team win, great way to start the year off."
In the junior varsity game, Cheboygan suffered a 46-28 loss to Boyne City.
Bella Ecker led Cheboygan with 12 points. Emily Clark scored nine.
This article originally appeared on Cheboygan Daily Tribune: Cheboygan girls basketball beats Boyne City to open season