ISHPEMING - Kurt Corcoran picked up his first varsity coaching win Monday night, but it wasn't easy or pretty.
His Patriots made just eight field goals, but got some key free throws from Kara Harrington down the stretch to hold off Menominee, 34-25.
"It was a hard-fought game," Corcoran said, "but when you hold a team to just 25 points, you should win.
Westwood’s Katie Rankinen goes up for a layup as Menominee’s Allia Stewart defends during the second half at Westwood on Monday. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"I needed to get that first win."
Harrington scored a game-high 15 points with the help of 8 of 12 shooting from the free throw line. She nailed five from the charity stripe in the final 2:16 to seal the win for the Patriots (1-1).
Amanda Pedersen scored nine points and hauled down 10 rebounds for Menominee in the Maroons' opening game of the season.
Prep girls hoops: Westwood at Marquette, 7:20 p.m. Thursday
"This is a hard one to swallow," first-year Menominee coach Lucas Chouinard said. "My girls played with intensity and effort, but it's my fault as a coach they weren't prepared enough to execute what we needed to do."
Westwood held the Maroons to just 10 of 46 shooting for 21.7 percent. In the first half, Menominee scored just eight total points.
"Our defense was the key," Harrington said. "We're a short team, but we hustle and play hard to the end. That helps us a lot."
Said Chouinard: "Their press agitated us, caused us play at a faster pace. We weren't able to set up in our half-court offense.
"We needed to slow it down. It was pretty chaotic out there."
The Maroons scored the first seven points of the third quarter to get to within 16-15 with 4:50 left, but Harrington buried a 3-point shot and Rankinen sank two free throws to give the Patriots a 21-15 cushion.
"I told the girls at the half we had to chip away little-by-little by doing the little things right," Chouinard said. "We didn't execute what we needed to do to be successful.
"Hats off to Westwood. They played a good game."
Leading just 23-21 with about five minutes left to play, the Patriots went on a 9-2 run to take a 32-23 advantage with 44 seconds remaining.
Rankinen complemented Harrington's five late free throws with a triple.
"My girls played hard, " Corcoran said. "We press for 32 minutes. Defense was the key and it will be all season long for us.
"Our goal is to hold an opponent to 40 points and we almost cut that in half tonight."
The Menominee junior varsity won 29-26.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.