Editor's Note: Due to earlier deadlines, this story didn't appear in Wednesday's Herald-Argus.
MICHIGAN CITY — Say this much for the Michigan City girls basketball team. They're consistent.
Unfortunately for the Wolves, that's not a redeeming quality when it comes to turnovers.
The same old nemesis did in City once again in Tuesday's 58-49 loss to Kankakee Valley. M.C. committed 12 of its 38 miscues in a decisive 20-2 third-quarter Kougars run that broke open a game that was tied at the half.
"We are constantly working on it in practice," City coach Mike Megyese said. "They got their lead because of our worst enemy all year long, turning the ball over. We've got to figure out something that works with the personnel and depth we have."
KV went to trapping pressure in the second quarter after watching the Wolves' Trinity Thompson muscle inside for nine points and seven rebounds in the opening period to stake the hosts to a 14-7 lead.
"We can't play a halfcourt game with anybody," Kougars coach Doug Nelson said. "We're at our best when we're up and down, causing a little havoc. The girls don't stop. They're scrappy, they mix it up. It was too easy (for Thompson). We had to try to get them out of their comfort area. If she's catching the ball at halfcourt, dribbling one on five, we're happy."
The increased pace and resulting MC turnovers largely negated Thompson's ability to dominate in the post and the Kougars pulled even going to the half.
"Our half-court defense was pretty good," Megyese said. "The one thing K Valley has is length at the guard spots and that caused us trouble."
A Karmen Nowak 3 kick-started the second half and consecutive hoops on pickoffs quickly moved the margin to seven. That was followed by an 11-0 Kougars burst that ballooned the spread to its largest (18) at 43-25.
"We got down 18 in blink of an eye," Megyese said. "A lot of possessions, we didn't even get a shot. It was turnover, turnover, turnover, bucket, bucket, bucket."
Thompson and Halfacre, who scored all but six of the Wolves' points, fueled a rally that saw MC claw within five at 50-45 in the late stages, but that was as close as they would get.
"We turn it over that many times and are still down five, that's scary," Megyese said. "We cut it to 25, we're probably winning the ball game. I felt we showed some character getting back into the ball game. We pressured. The thing is we can't pressure 32 minutes. We'll foul out by halftime. We've got to pick and choose our moments."
Thompson put up incredible numbers once again, scoring 26 points to go with 17 rebounds, five steals and three assists. Halfacre contributed 17 points.
"I'm not into moral victories, but that (rally) is something we can build on," Megyese said. "If we get blown out, we've got to find a way to not just fix the mistakes but to fix them."
Sam Martin had 19 points, seven rebounds and five steals, while Nowak scored 12 points to go with a whopping 10 steals for KV.
"They really hurt us in the post with Martin," Megyese said. "We can't afford to let Trinity go down there and guard her all the time. I thought Sativa (Santana) did a decent job and the Lemons sisters did a decent job at least putting their hands up, but (Martin) really had her way with us."
City (3-4) was hoping to get a measure of revenge in the matchup. The last time it met KV (5-3) was in the 2019 Class 4A Merrillville Sectional championship, a 61-59 thriller pulled out by the Kougars in the final seconds.
"I can't explain how inexperienced we are," Nelson said. "Nothing's going to be easy for us. It's the first game our seniors have played well. We finished. We played hard. We play like our feet are on fire. OK, we should have pulled it out a little bit at the end, but one thing at a time."
Kankakee Valley 58, Michigan City 49
Trinity Thompson had 26 points and 17 rebounds.