TRAVERSE CITY — Down early, they kept fighting.
Up big in the third quarter, they kept fighting.
When things got tight down the stretch, they kept fighting.
While things didn't always go their way, the key is they found a way to score a key league win on the road.
Cadillac stayed unbeaten in Big North Conference action as it beat Traverse City West 57-54 on Saturday.
The Vikings (11-1 overall) are 6-0 in the conference while the Titans drop to 4-2. They'll see each other for the second time on Feb. 19 in Cadillac.
A young Viking team is still learning lessons but first-year coach Mike McLaurin likes what he's seen so far.
"Our kids' fight today was great," he said. "We were down early and they just kept fighting.
"I just love the fight we showed. We just kept battling."
TC West started the game hot and led 17-13 after the first quarter before Cadillac could get its feet under it and find a shooting rhythm of its own.
A steal and a layup by Molly Anderson gave the Vikings a 28-20 lead with 3:01 remaining in the second quarter and Cadillac was up 34-24 at halftime after outscoring the Titans 21-7.
"We stayed calm until we got some good shots and then we hit a couple of big shots to get back into it," McLaurin said.
The Vikings stretched that lead to 16 at one point in the third quarter before they tried to do a little too much.
Cadillac's impatience helped West back into the game as the Titans cut it to 45-41 going into the fourth quarter.
"We got a little impatient again. I think the mentality was let's score more and buy them," McLaurin said. "Then we took some quick shots, didn't score and that helped them get back into it."
Cadillac was up 54-49 with 4:12 remaining before West hit a couple of buckets to cut it to just one at 54-53 with 2:23 to go.
Junior guard Makenna Bryant hit a huge 3-pointer to make it 57-53 with 2:07 left and then it became about just hanging on.
The Titans had a number of chances to cut into the four-point deficit as Cadillac missed the front end of three one-and-ones in the final minute of the contest but could get no closer.
McLaurin commended Macy Brown for a big game inside along with the defense of Madi Drabik and Livi Meyer on West senior standout Sierra Perkette.
Brown led the way for Cadillac with 23 points while Bryant had 16 and Anderson scored 12.
The Vikings host McBain in a Coaches vs. Cancer game on Tuesday.
• Cadillac rallied to win the JV game 36-34 as Kendall Schopieray scored the game's final five points in the waning moments. She finished with 14 points while Sarah Jenema and Chesni Birgy each had five.
• TC West won the freshman game 46-26. Gracie Tweedale paced the Vikings (9-2) with 11 points.