CROSBY -- A star was shining bright in the Woock Gym Tuesday.
Michelle Honek scored 23 points, preventing the Crosby-Ironton Rangers from snapping the Staples-Motley Cardinals' win streak.
That streak increased to 17 as the Cardinals, ranked fifth in Class 2A, rebounded from a 30-18 halftime deficit to knock off C-I 40-38 in Mid-State Conference girls' basketball.
S-M (17-1 overall, 6-1 conference) held the Rangers to eight second-half points on 3-of-23 shooting.
"You don't want to play games like this very often," said Cardinals coach Ron Beachy. "It was a good test. We needed something like this. I certainly didn't want it (Tuesday).
"Michelle stayed right on it and she just kept pumping them in. She's the one who stepped up and took shots when they needed to be taken."
Staples-Motley assistant coach Collin Beachy (center) yelled directions to the Cardinals in the final seconds of Tuesday's game.
Honek scored 13 second-half points, with nine coming in the fourth quarter. The senior forward scored all but nine of the Cardinals' 22 second-half points.
"We knew they were a good team and we really haven't been in the situation where we've been behind so it was different," said Honek. "We're good shooters. We play under control. We knew we could do it."
With 4:44 remaining Honek cut C-I's lead to two points. After sophomore center Kendell Spar tied the game at 38, senior point guard Steph Jares shot S-M into the lead with 50 seconds remaining. It was Jares' only basket of the game.
The Rangers had opportunities to tie the contest, but like most of the second half nothing fell.
"In the scheme of things, we probably tend to get back on our heels more than we were in the first half as things were going well," said Rangers coach Randy Swanhorst. "Certainly with Staples you can't let them dictate things. We played that game not to lose. We sure didn't execute the final 30 seconds."
Kim Rosecrans scored 15 points, all in the first half, helping the Rangers to their halftime lead. The senior point guard was scoreless in the second half. Whitney Smetana scored eight points and Angel Adams added seven for C-I. The Rangers shot 6-of-15 from the foul line, including a 1-for-5 fourth quarter.
Cardinals 40, Rangers 38
Snappy comeback: S-M overcame a 30-18 halftime deficit.
Next: S-M at Detroit Lakes, 7:30 p.m. Friday; C-I at Deer River, 7:30 p.m. Thursday
"I wrote smarts and mental toughness on our board and to me that was the name of the game," said Swanhorst. "We just didn't play smart down the stretch with time management and we weren't mentally tough with our free throws."
Spar added eight points for the Cardinals, who shot just 30 percent from the field and 0-for-9 from behind the arc.
"We knew we had to play better defense," said Beachy. "We were working hard the whole first half, but we made a few better decisions in the second half."
Staples-Motley 10 8 9 13 -- 40
Crosby-Ironton 16 14 3 8 -- 38
Kendell Spar 8, Michelle Honek 23, Melissa Roberts 3, Jacque Peterson 2, Liza Milless 2, Steph Jares 2. Team totals: FG 18-59 (30 percent), FT 4-9 (44 percent), 3-point baskets: 0-9 (0 percent). Conference -- 6-1. Overall -- 17-1. Next game: at Detroit Lakes 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Kim Rosecrans 15, Mari Kivisto 2, Angel Adams 7, Maggie Sandberg 2, Chelsea Lundgren 3, Whitney Smetana 8, Angie Gaviglio 1. Team totals: FG 15-44 (34 percent), FT 6-15 (40 percent), 3-point baskets: 2-3 (Adams 1, Rosecrans 1). Conference -- 10-8. Overall -- 3-5. Next game: at Deer River 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
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