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Lucia France's double-double guides Traverse City to 51-40 win over Cadillac

Jan. 16—TRAVERSE CITY — Even with 10 days of rest, it didn't look like there was much — if any — rust on the Traverse City Central Trojans on Tuesday.

The Trojans' last game was a win against crosstown rival Traverse City West on Jan 5. Since then, they've had two games postponed because of inclement weather.

"I think the break affected us," Central head coach Jen Dutmers said. "Practicing six days in a row is tough."

The Trojans (4-3, 3-0 Big North) stared slow in their Big North Conference matchup against Cadillac, but they exploded in the second half to come away with a 51-40 win to extend their winning streak to three games and hand the previously undefeated Vikings their first blemish of the season.

Cadillac (6-1, 2-1 Big North) entered Tuesday's matchup with a 6-0 record and a chance to beat TC Central for the first time since the 2020-21 season. The Vikings will have another crack at the Trojans when they travel to Cadillac on Jan. 26.

"They worked hard, and that's what we did, but it was only 6-0. That's what people are raving about, but it doesn't mean anything," Cadillac head coach Paul Seeley said.

Both teams struggled to muster points in the first quarter as Cadillac ended the quarter with a 5-3 lead. The Trojans and Vikings had six lead changes in the second quarter, with the Trojans entering halftime with an 18-13 lead after junior guard Jakiah Brumfield found junior forward Lucia France on a fastbreak to beat the buzzer.

Brumfield and France's fastbreak connection was on full display in the second half as the Trojans stormed out 7-0 to start the third quarter to go up 28-13. The junior duo has been playing with together since junior high and complement each other whenever they are on the court together.

"We read each other very well and know where the other person is going," France said of the chemistry. "It's a lot of us hanging outside of basketball too that has helped because we are good friends."

France finished the game with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the double-double.

Cadillac found their first set of points with under five minutes remaining in the third to make it 28-16, but Central sophomore guard Kylie Ball responded by sinking several fastbreak 3-pointers in a row to extend the lead.

Ball finished the night with 11 points, five assists and three steals.

The Trojans continued to pour on points in the third, with Brumfield getting seven of her 12 points as the Trojans ended the third with a 44-24 lead. Brumfield also contributed with six assists, the majority coming on fastbreaks.

Dutmers said she loves it when the team can get fastbreak opportunities and noted that Brumfield's ability to see the court has helped.

The Trojans sat several of their starters with under five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, and the Vikings took advantage of the opportunity by going on an 11-0 run.

"I give their team credit, especially right before the second half," Seeley said. "They had an amazing play with the ball that never touched the floor and got a layup out of it. I want to go give those kids a high-five because it's exactly what the textbook says, and that's what we need to start doing."

Senior forward Madisyn Lundquist led things for the Vikings with seven points. The Vikings saw contributions from junior guard Kaleigh Swiger (six points), senior forward Madelyn Schamanek (six points), junior Teagan Brown (five points) and junior Raegan Schopieray (five points).

Freshman Lorelai Zielinski helped TC Central a lot on Tuesday by collecting eight points and seven rebounds. Dutmers noted how great it's been to watch the 6-foot forward continue to get better. The head coach also loved what she saw from France and Zielinski and wants them to continue to be a force inside.

"That'll be our focus moving into the second half of conference play, is how can we get those guys to work together," Dutmers said.

The Trojans welcome Ludington on Friday. The Vikings host the Cadillac Showcase on Saturday with their first opponent against Grand Blanc at 6 p.m.