Ocelots clinch playoff berth with win over Kirtland


By Evan Paputa
Sports Editor
The Schoolcraft women’s basketball team put a season of ups and downs behind them as they won their final home game of the season 65-58 on Feb. 24 against Kirtland. The win qualified the Ocelots a post-season berth in the NJCAA Division II District H tournament which begins March 4.
Leading the charge was a trio of sophomores, Brianna Berberet, Tabitha Mann and Alexis Smith.
Berberet, Mann, and Smith broke down Kirtland’s team defense all night long.
Berberet lit it up from behind the arc, making four of six attempts leading to a 20 point overall performance. Going along with her outstanding offense, Berberet also was the only Schoolcraft player to have double digit rebounds with 11.
Mann notched a brilliant 6-8 shooting from the field and knocked down all four of her free throw attempts,  contributing 14 points in just 24 minutes of action.
Smith battled foul trouble all night, but didn’t let it deter her.  Smith’s 11 points came in big due to the fact that Kirtland’s third leading scorer was held to just eight points. Six of Smith’s points came from the free-throw line.
Schoolcraft came out strong in the first half and took a nine point lead into halftime.
In the second half, Kirtland needed to outscore the Ocelots by nine or more to win the game, but could only muster a two point advantage in the second stanza.
Kirtland scrapped hard, but couldn’t seem to get over the eight point deficit in the second half, until their layup with 21 seconds remaining that cut the Ocelot lead to seven.
Berberet and Mann combined to score the final nine points of the game for Schoolcraft.